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We all have a story

Today I was at a seminar - it was a retirement, change of career seminar covering topics such as managing your emotions and using the change/ grief cycle - I smiled to myself having written about this yesterday. The rest was around looking at what to do with your life in the future, your skills preparing for a new role.

It was interesting and I learnt some new bits and confirmed some other knowledge. I love going to anything which helps me develop and am always looking for new opportunities to watch communication in action.

At one point we all had to go round the room and talk about ourselves in 30 seconds.

There were 2 things I noticed;

1. I was in a room with some very interesting people.

2. They all had a story.

Why is this relevant to communication?

The group had all been in the same organisation for 30 years, there was a fear of change and the unknown. All of them more than competent and, on first impressions, you would say they were all confident. All had a different and varied career and were now planning for the future.

As we talked further in the break it was so interesting to listen to their stories, most had, at some stage had a challenge or were facing a challenge now. Some more difficult than others, all of them dealing with the emotions big change brings.

It was a day spent on thinking about ourselves, probably something we rarely do with the hustle and bustle of every day life. It was a day of listening to others and clarifying the meaning of the words they used, not taking everything at face value. There was no judgement or competitive talk, just sharing and comparing. 

You can learn so much from someone in 30 seconds if you listen to the words they use and then check the meaning when you talk to them later.

It's easy to have conversations at the tip of the iceberg, you know the ones where you protect yourself and only share what you want or what you think people will be interested in - safe surface conversations. Even in these the words you use can often tell a good listener there's more going on. 

Sometimes we are quick to judge because people look a certain way or remind us of someone we don't like, or for some reason we just don't warm to them.

Today reaffirmed to me how important each one of us are and how, we, through spending just a bit more time listening and reflecting, can support and encourage each other especially in times of change. 

We all have a story and at sometime in our lives just want to be heard.


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