Wednesday, March 28, 2012
We have sadly become a world of sound bites. If you can't say something brilliant in as few words as possible, we no longer want to listen. While watching Bill Moyers on PBS the other night, I was grateful for his ability to ask a question and then sit back and listen with his full attention. He made eye contact: Not once did he appear to be looking at his notes to prepare for the next question. He didn't fidget: Not once did he interrupt the other person. He didn't grow restless: Not once did he interject a sound or word that would tell the person being interviewed to wrap it up. Mr. Moyers' listening behavior seems to be the exception instead of the rule in today's media world, and, unfortunately, in real life, too. I have witnessed real-life situations where people expect others to speak in sound bites, as if to say, "Hurry up, make your point, move on because I'm too busy to listen." We can all hone our listening skills so that we honor the other person and what he or she is saying. Communication is not sound bites. It is the elegant dance of talking and listening, honoring the intimate process of sharing thoughts and information.