Listening and speaking

Image source: Sarah Yeates

Image source: Sarah Yeates

We need to learn to speak in such a way that others will want to listen, and listen in such a way that others will want to talk to you. Of course, this means writing or communicating in any form, in such a way that others will want to listen to you; it does not only apply to verbal communication.

Another great communication lesson I have always loved, is that we have two ears and one mouth, to be used in that proportion.

Most people find it difficult to accept criticism, and I am no different to most. The one things I have discovered as a blogger, is that if you can’t learn to accept criticism, then you will give up blogging (or any type of public communication).

I often see this with new bloggers, as at about the three-month mark, the criticism comes in, in droves. It seems that then, people either keep going or they simply give up.

Public speakers have the same issue, although, few who critique will be openly unkind towards someone with their criticism, if doing it to their face, whereas on the internet (e.g. blogs, Facebook Twitter) people seem more able to be really unkind.  It is like they are hidden behind their screen, and they don’t care if what they write (say) hurts.

I’ve not had any nasty criticism here or on social media for a while now (phew), but I regularly get healthy debate and sometimes some quite negative criticism, which I find useful and which almost always makes me think deeply. I may not change my perspective or opinion on something, but it is useful to see things from someone else’s perspective.

I’d have to say though, as someone who continues to write publicly, the especially nasty criticism has been in many ways, the most helpful, and has definitely made me much stronger and more willing to critique others, as well as accept negative criticism. After all, it is just someone else’s opinion.

No-one is right or wrong. This is my way, what is your way? There is no wrong way.

An ongoing challenge for me is that I am usually a very direct person, and my directness could come across as unkind; it is never meant to be, and of course, when or if it does, that is rarely helpful to anyone.

So, as always, looking in the mirror, working on what personal lessons I need to learn, working on ways to be a better person, is there for me (and you) every single day…

9 thoughts on “Listening and speaking

  1. As we are both ‘direct people’ does that mean we can call ourselves ‘directors’? Keep it up my friend – as Joan Baez sings on my Good Music page on my Blog: ‘We Shall Overcome’. As you would guess Willie’s on there as well!


  2. Kate,

    I started blogging in June 2008 with this post: I was 52 at the time. I was probably amongst the first few tens of thousand of people to sign up on Facebook after it went international.

    Following that, I was among the first Facebook business pages with which I launched in July 2009 a little over a year after my first blog post.

    Since then, I’ve received death threats, I’ve been vilified, I’ve been called every nasty name under the sun for having an opinion and voicing it.

    Over time, one develops a thick skin and learns that some people don’t want to open their minds beyond the pinholes of their narrow perspectives.

    Others see the possibilities engendered by constructive criticism and productive dialogue. I hope to always remain part of the latter community.

    It takes constant work and vigilance to recognize and shed one’s prejudices and judgments and to nourish one’s capacity to embrace openness and innovation.



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