Good questions inform but great questions transform. – Unknown
It’s likely that even as you read this – you’re only half listening/paying attention. You will certainly take the big picture points, but realistically, most don’t read or listen for comprehension.
Our society is conditioned to live in a fast paced world. We are writing tweets that crunch down our character count limits, we read blurbs under Instagram posts (but only the first few lines show at a glance), and we have “stories” options on FB and IG that let us just use video clips. The written and spoken word is now taken in through many filters, and none of which have been created to help us truly understand and comprehend, but rather to speed up whatever we are digesting. We can fast forward video’s by 2x to 4x the speed on youtube, and even on audio books.
While these technological advancements are not without their merit or place – we must remain conscious to the fact that they help us to lose some of that connection. We forget that real conversations with real people are not MEANT to be rushed or sped up. People want to be heard, and heard deeply. People want to be SEEN, but not just seen – acknowledged, appreciated and made to feel special.
As the quote explains – the power of conveying your interest or caring through asking meaningful questions can truly transform. A sad, but very poignant example is the story of Kevin, who is one of the 1% of people who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge – and survived. When he and other survivors have been asked – many echoed similar sentiments of “if one person had asked, or seemed concerned for me, I wouldn’t have done it” – and that shows just how important it is to take the time to ask people questions and acknowledge their existence. Not to put the responsibility of another’s life on us each, all day, every day, but to say that even our smallest actions can have a ripple effect and change the outcome of someone’s day, or life. Asking questions that show you’re truly listening to them and picking up on what they are (or are not) saying with their words. What’s in between? What are they saying in their silence? Their body language? All the other ways in which we communicate? Listen with your heart and soul, you might be surprised.