Listen & Silent

Did you ever realize that these two words contain exactly the same letters?

Clearly they have the same weight and equal value. When you listen, you listen in silence and hopefully with your whole heart. It will help others to feel good, encouraged and empowered.

Let me tell you why.

I was at an external stakeholder event today at a prestigious university. The Canadian government and our company sponsored a life science research team in this university with million dollars for them to work on a significant project that will have global impact. Big deal! Exciting! News release! Camera! All lined up for the official announcement.

As you know, there is always mingling time before this type of event starts so the speakers and VIPs can socialize with each other and audiences. I was pretty much a “nobody” compared with those very accomplished professors, presidents, doctors and governors. However things were happening to my surprise (in a good way).

First, I was introduced to the project leader in a group setting. He is a world renown research professor. He is the super star and a public figure. It’s a privilege to meet him, and he is a Chinese (yes, one of us!!! 🇨🇳). 30 minutes later, when the professor delivered his remarks on the stage, he mentioned my name, as well as a few of my other colleagues, but the thing is he just got to know us, and he had so many other names that he needs to remember, recognize and acknowledge in a short speech. Obviously he was listening with intention all the time, even it’s in a casual setting.

And then there was another gentleman, who is the board of director for the university, walking into the conference hall. Everyone seemed to know him and he seemed to know everyone too. Then he turned to me (the stranger!) and started to ask me all the questions and follow up questions.

– how long have you been working for this company?

– what’s your role?

– what did you do before?

– when did you come to Canada? Why did you choose Canada?

– why do you work in healthcare industry as a Communicator?

– what, why, how, etc.

At the end he said “you are doing great. Continue to do what you do and contribute to Canada.”

Phew, I felt I just went through an intense interview within 10 mins. He was genuinely listening to me with attention and interest.

One of the traits that real people leaders possess is to care. When you care, you listen; when you listen, you open other people’s mind and heart.

Dalai Lama once said:” when you talk, you are only repeating what you already know; but if you listen, you may learn something new.”

Talk less, listen more.

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