When E.F. Hutton talks....
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When E.F. Hutton talks....

OK, I'm dating myself with that reference.
The rest of the famous tag line was: "people listen".
But when do we, really?
Harking back to a post from January (here: http://www.onestepaheadworkshops.com/blog/2011/01/17/Lend-Them-Your-Ears.aspx) on the power of active or reflective listening, the topic was how difficult it is to really listen to our kids, without jumping in to offer advice, opinions, a lecture. We want to fix and move on.
Tom Peters, the business expert on excellence, wrote in the Financial Times last month on four goals that he wants us to turn into obsessions.
One of those on the short list was listening.
Excellence in managing people requires obsessive, strategic listening skills, Peters says. He quotes the book "How Doctor's Think"-- the author suggests that while a doctor's best source of information on the patient is, rather obviously, the patient himself, doctors interrupt patients on average after just eighteen seconds. How can the doctor possibly connect to what is wrong and get an accurate diagnosis with this kind of approach? He can't.
Peters bets that the average manager does little better. What do you think about the average parent?
In STEP we drill down on listening skills-- why they're important philosophically, and how to practice being an active/reflective listener. What wisdom flows when we close our mouths and listen! And how much more we hear and understand from our kids. When you practice this skill with vigor, you'll never hear that dramatic adolescent complaint: "Nobody around here listens to me!"
Here are some lines from a lovely poem called "Please Listen", author unknown:
When I ask you to listen to me
and you start giving me advice,
you have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me
And you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way,
You are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to solve my problem,
You have failed me-- strange as that may seem.
Listen! All I ask is that you listen.
Don't talk or do-- just hear me.
Accept the simple fact that I feel what I feel,
no matter how irrational,
and I can stop trying to convince you,
and start understanding what's behind this irrational feeling.
When that's clear, the answers are obvious
and I don't need advice.
Perhaps that's why prayer works--
God doesn't give advice or try to fix things.
He just listens and lets you work it out for yourself.
Please listen, and just hear me.
So let's try the Dr. Frasier Crane approach--
"Seattle, I'm listening."

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