Once again, my pals (in my head, not pals as far as they know) Rider, Julia and Tod of the bestest book podcast in the land, Literary Disco, have brought onto my radar that I a) didn’t know about b) wanted to read c) needed to read d) really liked. What more could you ask?
I am the first to say I’m not a very good listener. I mean, other people have likely said it, but I probably didn’t hear them #listeningjoke I have been called a big mouth, blabbermouth, chatty cathy and any other jargon to mean one who talks a LOT. Over the course of my life I’ve learned to curb and dial it back a bit, but it is my nature to want to steer the conversation, entertain, and share. For the most part, people find me an entertaining conversationalist, quick witted, good for a laugh, I’m someone who can work a room and bring people in to a party-in-progress. And I think I’ve allowed that to let me rest on my listening laurels. I mean, if I’m listening, then I’m not being me, but I’m here to tell me that is hogwash. It’s possible to be a good talker AND a good listener and I hope this book is step one (of many) for me moving the dial.
Murphy has written an approachable and interesting book on a well understood topic: listening. As a journalist, she spends her life listening to people and has often marveled at how others marvel that she gives them the space and latitude to be heard. It is this experience she draws from to write this book, and she pulls from various academic circles and backgrounds to give reason and clarity to why listening is so important, and how very not good at it most of us are.
I was a little apprehensive to pick this up, knowing myself and feeling like I’d be a bit browbeaten, but Murphy somehow manages to keep it academic and light. I checked this one out from the library, but I’m thinking I want to add it to my library as a reminder, something to turn back to.
Granted I recently finished reading it, but I’ve begun to make small modifications to my practices, making sure to give others my full attention, pausing to give others a chance to speak first or (gasp) not saying something that comes to mind. It’s a long road ahead, but I’ve started down the path and am happy this book has gotten me on my way.