The Maggidut of Listening

We had an interesting session at Vital Conversations last night; the guest spoke about his wrestling with his faith, and how when he finally was ready to truly doubt he finally began to really live.

He is, amongst other things, a professional counselor, and so some of the conversation turned to what is required to build trust, love and relationship between people; truly listening was the obvious foundation.

So what does listening have to do with maggidut – often thought of inspirational telling?

Here at work we are engaged in a “Listening Campaign:” upper and middle management sitting down and listening – closely, intently, authentically – to the rest of our staff. We have been coached not to answer questions, but rather to listen, eliciting as much as we can from others. In fact, we’ve designed the process so that one person listens, and the other takes copious notes. So why do we need two people, or anyone at all? Wouldn’t a tape recorder (sorry, Digital Audio Device!) do just as well, or even better?

Of course not. But, beyond having someone prompt for the next question, keep time and people on track, make sure that everyone has the chance to be heard, what do we need to do as facilitators? Or, more properly, as Listeners?

Simply, we must inspire others to believe that we care, that we are indeed listening to them – not just their words, but all of them. We must radiate the genuine Spirit that conveys our presence, our caring, and our commitment to them. We must demonstrate that we are ready to expose our true selves to them, to take in their criticism and their praise, and to act on what we learn.

It’s a challenge to really Listen. And, ironically, it’s helped a great deal by a good dose of maggidut – which really boils down to knowing how to hear the Other so well that you speak directly to them.

I have finished  speaking, and am ready to Listen.

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