T’was the Day After Christmas

The main component to every workshop, seminar or speech I present is listening. And on this day after Christmas, I believe poor listening and the inability to connect is an epidemic and I have the gifts to prove it.

When one has the skills to listen and question, as demonstrated in my workshops, it only takes five minutes to get to know someone when we focus on the individual without distraction. And, by the way, the main distraction is usually ourselves. If we could just do that, gift giving would be easier.

How many of you opened a gift on Christmas and thought, “What does this gift have to do with me?” or “Does the person giving me this gift know one thing about me?” Or “What the hell is this?” I feel guilty for not being grateful, but when deluged with scented candles, moisture cream or anything you can buy at a drug store, I can’t help but wonder if there was any thought put into the gift or that perhaps there is an odor issue that is passive-aggressively being addressed. As I get older, I am beginning to understand the words of my parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents, “I don’t really need anything.” What they were really saying is, “Please don’t give me another thing I don’t need.”

I have hobbies and interests that are apparent to everyone. Photography. Gardening. Cooking. Writing. Wine. But for whatever reason, year after year, little thought is given to those interests, and the ROGs (Random Obligatory Gifts) still appear in a tissue stuffed gift bag with my name on it.

The reason people continue to purchase ROG’s is because they have no real understanding or connection to the person. I believe the same is true in business. A leader who has no understanding of their team, gifts them with ORIs (Obligatory Random Information), rather than what they really need to succeed. They are looking for leadership and tools to enhance their skills, and are being given chia plants.

Start the new year by taking five minutes to get to know the people around you. Make a target list of individuals (personal and professional) at the beginning of every month and take the time to really focus on them by asking open ended questions that encourage them to speak. And the key,  don’t talk about yourself, not once.

The result will be focus, understanding, personal and professional connections and hopefully less scented candles, moisture cream or terracotta figurines that sprout chia.