The Quotophiles

Our quotation for this week is from Stephen R. Covey:

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

So how do the Quotophiles fail in their listening skills? Ah, let us count the ways . . .

Colette: I have to admit that I’m not always the best listener. Being a good listener is hard.  I have to catch myself when I’m listening just for my break into the dialogue, and not for what is really being said.  I have to remind myself that in a good conversation, listening is as important as talking.  (So why do good talkers get all the credit?)  I am a better listener than I used to be, due more to maturity and practice, than to any single instance.

Teaching taught me a lot about listening.  Parenting did too, especially in my son’s teen years when what was said was not necessarily more important than how it was said, or when what was not said usually mattered a lot too.  Listening during silence is a learned art.  Oddly enough, I’ve also learned a couple things about listening from my dog, since his communication is subtle and listening for nuances can be the difference between a happy day and a chewed up slipper, or the need for a clean-up in the hallway.

Emily: I’m probably a better listener when I don’t care anything about a topic. Otherwise, I do find myself thinking about a comeback. So perhaps the key to being a good listener is to hang around boring people.

Pam: Are you talking to me?… 🙂 Of all of the great wisdoms I have come to “learn” (not necessarily employ) this one has got to be one of the biggest truths of life. Admittedly, I grew up guilty of this one, big time…my mind ‘a going 100 miles an hour as someone spoke to me…listening, yet thinking AS they talked, of what I WAS GOING to say back the first chance I had to jump in there. My, aren’t we all self-important? It is so true in life, in general, when you talk with people, watch them to see if they are truly listening. Often times you can tell they are not. (And the older I get, the less I am apt to continue talking if I think they are not). Sadly, many of the students I find myself working with are peeking down at texts while I take the time to look up research for them. If I discover them doing this, I promptly look at them with complete disappointment, and they will most always look ashamed and put down their phone. More and more we live in an era where young people (and older ones, too) need visual stimulation to keep interested. Despite this, I absolutely love to listen to audio books. It builds a story – just like old-time radio used to do. Perhaps this is helping train me to be a better listener. Is it not truly a treasure in life to find someone who you find to actually show interest and caring concern in what you are sharing with them? It is! May we all dig the cotton out of our ears and show more respect to our fellow human beings as they share with us!…I just hope they’ll hurry up and get done so I can get my two cents worth in!

Jolly Librarian: Years ago, I was taking an exam in the neverending process to be certified as a teacher. This particular test was a basic skills exam. I sailed through the reading, writing, and reasoning. Then there was the listening test. As someone’s taped voice droned on and on, my mind wandered. I think it may have actually wandered all around the world. I returned from my out-of-body experience to realize that I had missed a huge chunk of the material that I was now going to have to answer questions on. Either osmosis kicked in, or the questions could be answered by inference and common knowledge. I passed the test.


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