IF WE EVER WALK TOGETHER, you'll probably notice me sneaking over to your right side. It's a habit born of necessity, because I lost most of the hearing in my right ear when I was a kid.
Best thing that ever happened to me.
By nature, I talk far too much. But I've had to work at listening, because I cannot always hear. That's a great lesson to learn. One happy result is that I've been able to learn from a lot of very smart people about some very complex topics -- computers, telecommunications, chemistry, electrical grids, pharmaceuticals. And I have fashioned clear, engaging stories from those barely-heard conversations.
The secret? Listening. Talking to a person, going from the general to the particular. Catching them off-guard with a few facts they didn't know I had. Probing to see what makes the head tilt, the voice rise. Finding the interest inherent in all things, if you just push them far enough out of equilibrium and filter them through five monosyllables:
"What's in it for me?"
And when it hits home ... well, that's why I put up with the committees, the approval headaches, the lousy hours. Because it's a great high to capture some wild, elusive truth that can excite people, compel them to act.
It isn't all that hard, if you have the ear for it. | DC |