What Does Your Personality Say?
(Click for Audio) Notice. I’m not asking what your personality says about Y-O-U…rather, what is your personality saying? We are each a unique personality, enjoyable to a select group of people, but not to everyone. Some want to hear what we want to say, and others dread to see us walk into their space.
This morning I woke thinking about the role I fulfill that is unique to my personality. I am not like other pastors, teachers, or writers. I have something to share, and enjoy the process. For the most part.
It has been said that women speak 20,000-25,000 words per day, men only 8000-10,000. But as my wife says, get someone like me into the mix and I can easily chatter through the entire dictionary. It’s not that I like to “talk”…I am an introvert throughout much of my day. And, I would much rather communicate by text or email than by telephone. But when you have been given much to say, then it’s hard keeping it bottled up inside. Hence this blog!
I don’t want to talk your ear off, but I do want to get my foot into the conversation and share my two cents.
I have found that too often people do not listen. They may hear, but they do not engage their hearing and brain into equal partnership of listening. Some should practice their skills of actively listening! Too often we listen with one ear while our brain engages on how to interject, or reply, and we never listen to understand. Comprende?
This is an age-old problem. Listen to Jesus explain it:
Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. (John 8:43 NKJV)
In other words, “You cannot understand because you are not actively listening.”
A recent example is an on-air personality interviewing a Congressman about the shooter in Northern Virginia just yesterday. The personality asks a question of the Congressman, the Congressman answers, and then is asked another question that has already been answered…and he answers it almost exactly word for word, and the on-air personality still does not comprehend. Are you not listening???? [Source – 22 minutes into the broadcast.]
Besides trying to frame our next question or interjection into the conversation, why do we not actively listen? One psychologist suggests that we often feel what we have to say next is more important than understanding what is being stated by the speaker. We struggle with retaining our own various trains of thought, hoping to be able to interject appropriately…. Our importance is greatly exaggerated!
I have to practice my active listening skills every time I have a conversation with someone. Here are a few things that help me. Each of them are pretty tough to do all the time, but it’s something worth considering.
- Make eye contact and use appropriate body language to show that I care about what is being said.
- Sometimes it’s good to take notes because it removes me from thinking down a rabbit trail, and it shows the speaker that I’m engaged.
- Do not interject into the speakers comment – no matter how tempting it is to ask for clarification!
- Think…think…think…before replying.
After I’ve given something my full attention, actively listened, then, and only then, can I ask intelligent questions about the direction of the speaker and hopefully give some good feedback.
There is a Christian radio station in Humble, Texas, that I used to listen to often…back when we lived in Humble, Texas. In the early 90’s they started putting up billboards to advertise their station with a simple message: God Listens. It’s a good message and garnered lot of attention from a lot of people in the area.
A popular TV sit-com situated in Seattle, Washington…and I live just south of here, had famous words he used to open the on-air phone to every caller wishing for someone to help them with their problem. With his Harvard trained psychologist voice Frasier Crane would simply say: I’m Listening
People go to confessional booths and expect that the person on the other side of the screen is truly listening as they pour out their heart and soul. People pay good money to have someone to listen and advise them on how to get better, or deal with some issue of life.
Often, we simply need someone to actively listen, knowing that there is an answer to our need on the other end of our speaking. For those of you who are in this arena right now, one of the best sources of great result that I have, and it can work for each of us, no matter who we are… It’s simply prayer. Believing that God is actively listening… Before unburdening yourself on a frail human counterpart, try the shoulders of God.
I have more to say about this in the future. Are you listening?