“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”Karl A. Menniger
I was recently asked why our creative agency, Rebel Pilgrim, was qualified to tell stories on video. I thought about it for a bit, various answers flipping through my brain, and I responded with, “Because I believe we’re the best listeners in Cincinnati.” Great storytellers are first and foremost great storylisteners.
Think about your favorite people in the world. My hunch is they are active listeners and observers. They ask questions and genuinely care about your answer. You usually have to prod them to talk even though their stories are way more interesting than yours.
Think about your least favorite people in the world. They don’t listen, they talk. They’ve asked you zero questions to your five million. They’re the worst.
Good listeners are so magnetic because they’re personal validation machines. They see/hear you and affirm that you’re important. That’s what we all really want, right? To be seen and heard and respected. Perhaps that’s just a wordy description for love. Think about how good you feel after spending even a little time in conversation with a good listener.
And maybe this is stretch, but I wonder if this is one of the reasons we love our dogs so much? All they do is listen. At least the good ones.
I’ve noticed that active listeners and observers usually have a running log in their head on the trends, patterns, connections they’re noticing. Their eyes, ears and antennas are constantly receiving and processing. Which is why their gut instincts are so strong.
They’re the ones that move into the neighborhoods years before they become the cool neighborhoods. Like our friend, Julie Neisen Gosdin. We spoke with her in episode 18 of the podcast. She got into food blogging before anyone else in Cincinnati at the same time she moved into the now uber hip neighborhood, Over-the-Rhine. Her antennas were up and she saw things coming that no one else did. So it’s not surprising that when we asked her for advice on social media, something she knows a lot about, her immediate response was to listen. Pay attention to the conversations that are already in progress before just charging into the conversation, she said.
Want to be the kind of person who unfolds, affirms and expands those around you? Want to become a creative force who sees the unseen coming? Want secret magnetic powers? Then listen up.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Tim Pierce