Our interaction with others can be so superficial. Living in a hot climate I can’t count the number of times I have discussed weather with others. Many times the first thing we say when we greet someone is, “It’s hot out there!”
It does make it easy to casually interact with others and have a common connection. But we need more to form a deep connection and really begin to understand those around us.
At our recent staff meeting it was announced that we are focusing on learning the stories of those we interact with in our working environment. This was surprising because our church recently rolled out their theme for the coming year “Your Story Matters”.
About a year ago my boss had me watch to a series of videos focusing on communication. Apparently this is an area I could use some focus on. OK, I welcomed this opportunity. When I reflect back over the years, it has been brought to my attention before that I could use some improvements in the area of communication. I really enjoyed these videos and had several tips and recommendations I would incorporate into my work and person life.
One area I am focusing on is improving my listening skills. I love to talk and I love to share anecdotal pieces of information from some past experience I’ve had. I find I can get impatient wanting to share my part of the conversation.
I am working on listening to those speaking as if I am meeting them for the first time. How would my attention change if I was meeting some fascinating person for the first time and really wanted to hear what they had to say? And what would happen if I worked on doing this with each and every person I meet or interact with on a daily basis?
Well, it’s not easy. But I am working on it. And now this new focus around me with regards to the stories these people hold inside is even more of an incentive.
We have such a fast paced life. We communicate in short sentences, and emojis. How do you get to really know another person through emojis?! What happens when you put the phone down, look someone in the eye, and ask them about themselves? What happens when you keep that eye contact, respond sincerely, and continue listening? If you ask open ended questions, ignore your phone or text messages, and maintain eye contact?
You learn things about others. They open up. People will talk if you have welcoming body language. And relationships can sprout.
I see how this new focus in two areas of my life can help me continue to work on my communication skills.
We know there are so many hurting people out there. People who have a story, who would benefit from someone who cared to listen.
But it’s not only those we can support. What about those who have a story of wisdom and life experience? How can I learn from someone’s story of guidance and life skills? Perhaps they pushed through and their story can motivate me to do the same?
Do you have a story? Whatever your story, it holds value. It holds value because you are valuable. I hope you are able to cherish your story and the value you bring to those around you.
If I had the opportunity, I would like to sit down with you and hear your story.