It Takes a Community to Listen Well

I am just about to wrap up a 9-day series of trips through 3 different time zones. I flew from Denver to Houston, which was hotter than I care to remember (like step outside for 10-seconds and realize you cannot breathe so you step back inside until your Uber comes, kind of heat). My time there was well worth it, though, speaking to over a thousand HR pros on how to promote better listening at work. I signed books, hugged folks (my favorite part) and made them laugh and think.

I moved on to Orlando for 4 nights, where I arrived a day early to attend the largest annual professional speaker conference of the year. Ok, it was still balmy, but not as awful as the Houston heat. I was able to take advantage of binge-watching Suits on Netflix the first night before the conference started. (Go Harvey!)

As soon as I arrived at the hotel, there were speakers everywhere! The conference is named “Influence” and that is because there are big stars who speak to thousands of people all over the world, and they exude influence. Everyone is hugging one another, which I adore! We were all so excited to see one another. There was great bonding, laughter, eating and memorable speeches to be sure. We all listened to the speakers and to one another.

On the last day, I headed to the airport to head to my next stop, LinkedIn Learning to film two more courses (More on that to come!:). As soon as I got in my Uber, I got notice that my flights were cancelled, and I was rebooked. So, I waited in the airport for 4 more hours.

As I sat in the waiting area for my gate, a gentleman, named Ian, struck up a conversation with me. He told me all about his family and he asked me questions about what I do and told me about what he loved about his job, about why he traveled last minute to be with his son during his baptism. I learned about his favorite vacation spots, and he connected with me on Instagram and said he wanted to buy my books to help him be a better leader. He said he always strikes up a conversation with people to pass the time, to lighten the wait time. Another woman heard us talking and starting to tell us about her too.

As we continued to wait, I could see Ian chuckling, and that’s because he was already looking at my Instagram feed and some of my reels. He was a continuous learner and engager. He saw life as something to be experienced and the people in it as something to be understood.

It has become more evident to me than ever that it takes a community to listen well to the needs of others, to ask the right questions to get to the truth and to make sure that those around us know that they matter, that we notice them and that we want to hear their stories. Ian reinforced that for me.

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Leadership With Heart With Heather R Younger

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