Listen first, Part II of a Series

by Edward Henkler on March 14, 2013

I want to start out this post with a shout-out to a great HR leader, Lori Rosenthal.  Lori has been a great sounding board for some of the content on my site and is also the subject of this post.  She’s a great listener and is guaranteed to have insightful contributions in many different settings.

Lori and I met the other day to discuss current activities.  In the course of our conversation, she mentioned that she was on the committee for a silent auction at an upcoming event, honoring the Delaware Valley HR Person of the Year.

 Delaware Valley HR Person of the Year

Even though I had just published a post on shedding preconceptions, I could feel myself shutting down.  And my inner voice became quite active:

Why would I want to spend money on your event when I already contribute to my favorite charities?

If you would have been listening to me before, you’d know that between college tuitions and other commitments, I’m certainly not looking for additional spending areas.

What does this even have to do with me?

Fortunately, I was able to silence my inner voice and continue listening.  Lori has become a good friend and was actually suggesting that I contribute a bit of time for a company assessment.  This could prove quite valuable to a local company and would be a simple way of advertising my business.  Win-win!

I believe I’m an above average listener and that skill is often highlighted in “360” assessments, yet I almost missed a wonderful opportunity.  My previous post was extracted from a work of fiction.  Today’s post is from the real world and I suspect all of you have done the same thing.

The lesson: listen first and that includes keeping your inner voice silent….

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bill Mecaughey April 20, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Very interesting point about listening including silencing the inner voice. It is one thing to engage in outward silence while someone else is speaking to you, employing a passive listening. But it is not uncommon for the mind to drift to the listener’s anticipated reply or contemplate a next meeting or whatever. When combined with an active ‘inner voice’, you become incapable of comprehending the ongoing remarks of the other party. The point being made by Ed is a keen one in my view—silencing the inner voice when the speaker has shared something provocative is often a challenge even for the practiced, active listener. It is prudent to be aware of this potential distraction, else you may overlook a gem. An extreme amount of practice and self discipline is required.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: