The AD Way: Listen Generously

Share, share, share! But please be brief.

August 30, 2021

Welcome to week #24 of The AD Way!

Listening is more than “not speaking.” Be present and engaged and open to points of view that are different than your own. Don’t shoot the messenger. Allow others to express themselves without judgement and let go of the need to agree or disagree. Sometimes we need to hear what’s being said. Listen with care and empathy. And above all, listen to understand.

I want to listen more generously. It’s a personal goal. A priority, even!

I want to because I need to. And I need to because there’s a lot of things I just don’t know. This includes the many things that I know I don’t know; as well as the many things that I think I know but don’t really know because I’m mistaken. 

And guess what?

You and I are much the same. Individually, our knowledge is limited and frequently wrong. Collectively, we are better informed, and we make better decisions.

That’s why we need to listen to each other (generously) and learn from each other’s knowledge base and perspective.

But here’s something to consider.

It doesn’t do any good to be listening generously if nobody is talking. Nor does it do any good to be talking, if we don’t know how to talk so that people listen and grasp our message.

Are we a team here at AD, or are we not a team? (The correct answer: we are a team!!) blushing smile

As we are a team, why then would anyone on this team keep any information to themselves that if freely shared could otherwise maybe help the team win and/or prevent a loss??? Correct answers: One wouldn’t and shouldn’t!

So please share, share, share (!!) whatever is on your mind and whatever you know!! Share internally. Share externally. Share up the organization and share across it. Don’t wait to be asked. Sharing is caring. Share without being asked.

And when you share, share succinctly, and with confidence. No exceptions! Even when you have a lot to share - be succinct! Even when you aren’t sure - be confident! It’s better to share and be wrong, than to not share information and ideas that might be useful.

You want people to truly grasp your message? Make a single point really well. That’s the best approach. Make two points, maybe, if you can connect them to each other so they are more like one point than two. But three points? That’s really hard. And four? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Nobody, no matter how generously they are listening, is going to remember all four points you make. And truthfully, most people are not going to be listening that generously in the first place (in spite of our promises and priorities)! wink smile

Please don’t take this personally. Most of us are just trying to get through each day as best we can. We aren’t perfect like you. silly smile 

Have empathy!

Occasionally you may feel like there’s a lot that needs saying. Maybe a significant amount of time has passed since you’ve met with some person or group. Maybe things have accumulated so to speak. They’ve piled up into this “mountain” of important information.

So, is it ok, in that scenario, to carefully explain this mountain of information? No. It’s not ok. If the information is so important, why have you waited until only just now to share it? Important information should be shared when its new. Don’t save it up for special occasions. Keep your messages timely and simple.

And make your points in a compelling manner. By compelling I mean, convey your message with confidence. Talk like you know what you’re talking about!

Most people don’t communicate with confidence because they worry too much about being wrong. Don’t worry about being wrong! Being wrong is part of life. Accept that you will be wrong. And accept that you won’t know where or when. Embrace this! Don’t let it deter you.

The possibility that you might be wrong is not a good reason to be timid, close mouthed or boring! If you are timid, that is something you may want to look into and work on. And there is never a good reason to be boring. Be interesting!

Embrace each day. Enjoy each interaction. Trust your judgement. Do those things and you will be happier, and “right,” far more than wrong!

So, this week, and every week . . . let’s listen generously, let’s share our insights and information proactively, and let’s communicate succinctly and with confidence.

Here’s to a great day and week!