Communicate: Listen. It’s the Best Way to Be Heard

COMMUNICATE: Listen. Often the best way for your voice to be heard is to show others you are hearing theirs.

Do you want to be heard?  Sure.  We all do.  We have ideas and notions that want audience.  We have opinions and perspectives worthy of attention.  And it can be infuriating to sit in staff workshops, committee meetings, and district gatherings and feel those ideas will get no further than our selves.

Some of us try to solve this crisis of cognitive validation by talking whenever possible, looking for every opportunity to offer an idea, to add to the discourse, in hopes that this will be the comment that brings it all home.  Others of us take a more passive approach, by waiting until the room grows quiet, giving pause, and then making a hereto undisclosed offer.  No longer part of the din, we believe that our ideas now have space to be accepted and take hold.

Instead, start with listening.  Demonstrate to the others in the room that we hear them — that we understand the positions and the points even if we may disagree.  Lean in.  Ask clarifying questions.  Reflect and mirror the offer. Honor and accept the value and validity of the other offers on the table.  Amazing how a little empathy can open the ears.

Then, we too, may speak freely.  And darn it, we might just get heard as well.

Accept. Communicate. Trust.

About Dan Ryder

Dan Ryder & Jeff Bailey, co-founders of Wicked Decent Learning, a blog, podcast, Twitter feed and who-knows-what-all-else devoted to teaching and learning in Vacationland and beyond. Teachers, dads, actors, writers, geeks, buds.

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