Posted by: paulkonasewich | April 1, 2008

The Story-Telling Listener

pk-story-telling.jpgI may teach supportive listening, but I don’t want to give the impression that it’s something that comes naturally or easily to me. As Eran has made amply clear to me, getting really good at something like listening comes from a lot of practice, as opposed to say “good listening genes.”

Thus I think it’s appropriate today for me to talk about one of the ways that I get off track by talking when I’m in the role of listener. The reality is that even as a dedicated listener, there comes a time when I need to talk. And so in Supportive Listening we have the WIG (“what I got”) to help us stay on track as listeners when it’s time for us to talk. But sometimes I forget, and here’s what I do instead.

I share my own story.

No sooner has the speaker finished their story, and in fact they are still exhaling from their last word, that I am jumping in with my story. It just feels like such a rush to connect with someone else’s story.

And while it doesn’t work in supportive listening, in everyday conversation it can work nicely. But I’ve been thinking that I’d much better serve the connection with the other person by staying with their story, perhaps with a WIG or two, before sharing mine.

Paul

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