The art of listening is truly understated. It seems talking about oneself is the priority of the majority. I have found myself listening more than talking, most of my life. Perhaps because I have been interviewing people for so long, that listening has become part of who I am.
What is more interesting than really listening to another person’s story? To me, it is the key to understanding the world. Everybody has their own take on why things turn out the way they do, and the web we weave together as human beings tell us more about the world than anything else. One person’s story tell me all I have to know – I get all the why’s, the why not’s, the how come’s and the future dreams. It’s all there for the one who dares to really listen in.
Perhaps it is due to my many hours of listening and asking questions, that I find it easy to include people in processes. Or, perhaps it’s because I really value other people’s opinions. I truly Believe that each person is the owner of his/her story. So, who better to tell it, than the person itself?
Of course, not everybody can tell a story – no matter how well you know it. But everybody can have a say in how his/her story is being told. Working with minorities, I have found the listening part being far more important than ever before. The risk of hurting, violating experiences or simply “walking all over the place” is imminent. Especially since “majority people” simply can’t understand the concept of being in minority. It is so easy to do something hurtful without even realising it. That is why I have been careful to include minority representatives in my projects.
I have learned so much doing this, and it has become a successful way of producing programmes about these groups. Finally, they are included, respected and able to tell their story in a way that they can relate to.
It seems simple, but it is truly necessary that everybody in the project are on board with the goal of inclusion. If not, true inclusion will not be reached.
It also seems like a no-brainer to “listen” to people. I can assure you, it is not… Listening, and actually hearing what is being said is an art. Mostly, “listening” is just a cover-up for thinking about how to get a word in, planning your comment or planting your own point of view yet again.
In my mind, real listening requires curiosity, interest, open-mindedness and patience. ❤