I know Im not the best listener. I get excited and I want to contribute. I have a lot of ideas and I can quickly formulate a lot of abstract ideas into a concrete plan. I talk really fast. I want people to understand my point of view, you know, because I think about big ideas all the time.
I, I, I. Right? Look at how many times I wrote the word I in that opener. It was a lot (9, to be exact).
This has been a week of introspection and valuation for me. And the more I think about it, the more I doesnt matter. Its always WE.
The thing we can do better, as professionals and human beings, is put ourselves in someone elses situation and be better, more empathic listeners. We arent listening enough and our social media tools give us unlimited and instant opportunities to talk and react instead of listen.
As a UX agency, listening is something we prioritize in our work, of course, but it can be a little bit of a bubble working where we do. When we think about it: we work in a city. The people we interview mostly live in cities. They have a certain level of access and privilege that most do not. Most of the people we interact with, in the conscious company / do-gooder communities we circulate in, agree with us. We volunteer with like minded organizations.
And this is extremely dangerous. How hard is it to listen and be empathic when you agree with 80% of what youre hearing? How can you get even better?
Demetrio gets frustrated with me all the time because of my disbelief in social media. Most of the time, I view 90% of the content as yelling into a can, or worse yet – an echo chamber, where there are lots of people talking and no one is doing. The loudest people get the most attention, and most of the time they are just the loudest or most frequent and not the best.
I prefer to do. I dont think I need to Tweet or post about every interaction I have, even if it is really powerful. Somehow, when I distill it down into a Tweet or a post, it loses power. I believe that the tree fell even if there was no one to hear it.
For me, maybe for us, now is the time to practice active listening. And not only active listening, but deliberate active listening, where we seek out people who definitely dont agree with us and try to find some commonality.
Im tired of yelling in a can. Im tired of talking. Its time for doing and to walk the talk even more than before.
A quiet action is more impactful than??loud inaction. So lets get to work.