Valentine’s Day is Sunday, February 14. This is a TRP reminder to let your loved ones know that you love them. Chocolates, Hallmark cards, sweet posts on their Facebook pages… all these certainly work. One of the best ways to say “I love you” though, is to listen. That’s right, listen.
Listening is hard. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey writes, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Truly listening to someone else requires a deep focus on what he or she is really saying. We often hear what we think they are saying, or think what we will say next. To listen requires much more interest in THEM, and less interest in me.
Here’s a cool tool. This simple test rates our listening skills. You don’t need to register on the site to read your results. It only takes a few minutes, and the questions as well as the interpretation are thought provoking. The test will offer some practical tips to increase listening skills.
Listening to the ones we love is a heartfelt Valentines gift. The romantics can do it all year-round too. What if we listened not only to those we love, but to those with whom we disagree? What kind of world would we create? What kind of company culture would we create? What about family culture?
In a rare meeting of talents, Destin Sandlin talks about listening in his interview with the President. Destin is a 32 year-old rocket scientist who happens to run a YouTube channel with over 3.5 million subscribers called Smarter Every Day. Destin interviewed President Obama a few weeks ago as part of the innovative #YouTubeAsksObama project.
In this 8 minute video, Destin talks about what he learned from that experience. It contains snippets of the actual interview and how he decided on which questions to ask. Destin said,
“I could tell him how I think he should run the country, or I could accept the fact that he might see things differently than I do and try to have a meaningful, respectful, intelligent conversation.”
The resulting conversation was powerful. Powerful in the obvious effect it had on the President, and what impact it had on Destin, and now his viewers.
This Valentine’s day, have fun listening. Listen to those you love and to those with whom you disagree. It might just change the world.