When I was up in Michigan last week I went into a Best Buy store to look for a flat-screen television for my in-laws. It was crowded that day and I was watching this father who had a small child in his shopping cart. Apparently dad was looking for a new computer. The toddler wasn’t getting his dad’s full attention so, in obvious frustration, he reached up and grabbed his dad’s face in both hands, looked him in the eye, and said “Listen to me, daddy!!”
Don’t you feel like doing that sometimes when you realize the person you are talking to really isn’t listening to you? You want to grab their face with both hands, look them in the eye, and say “Hey! Listen to me!”
The problem is that we’re all guilty of being that non-listener. The other day I was halfway in a conversation with a new friend when I found my eyes wandering.
“What’s going on over there?”
“Is there someone else I need to talk to?”
“I wonder what they are talking about over there?”
“ I can’t wait to talk to that other person.”
Whether we’re an extrovert or an introvert we all do it. I can be having a full blown conversation with someone and suddenly realize I have no idea what either of us said for the past few minutes. The thing is, when we aren’t really paying attention when someone is talking, they can tell. And it is so hurtful and diminishing. It’s so subtle, but I think how we respond to individual conversations in a big crowd is sometimes a great indication of whether we are leaning toward selfishness or selflessness. Most of us walk into huge rooms with one agenda…ME.
“Who will notice me?”
“Who said hi to me?”
“Who’s listening to me?”
“Who noticed my tie? My hair? My voice?”
“Who noticed I wasn’t here last week?”
I suppose I understand why it’s hard for us to focus on anyone when we come in pre-loaded with those expectations. I get it. But just imagine what would happen if we flipped the scripts? What if we actually looked people in the eye? Like we cared. What if we listened with our eyes? Nodded. Engaged. Asked questions. What if we came into a room and asked….
“Who can I notice?”
“Who can I say hi to?”
“Who can I listen to?”
“Who’s outfit can I compliment?”
“Who wasn’t’ here tonight?”
What would happen if we did that? I’ll tell you what would happen. We would be love. We would change someone’s life. And I’m not saying that to be dramatic. It’s true. If people walked away from talking to you feeling more loved than they did right before they talked to you, you would be a world changer.
Want to change the world? Well, here’s a great place to start. Next time you talk to someone in a room full of people, look at them and actually listen. It’s not flashy and you won’t get a trophy or gold star, but you very well could be that little nudge that someone has been waiting for. You could change the world.
So change someonemin your world today.
You are loved,
PS: Confession: I suspect my dear wife will hang this “From the Rev” on the refrigerator door as a subtle reminder to ‘practice what you preach.’