Book Excerpts

“Loving an elder can be as simple as just sharing some minutes of silence with them.”

When listening, I like to keep a few things in mind.

1. There is a balance to being heard. You are dying to be heard and so is the person you are with. If it’s your wife or your husband or your child, he or she needs to understand that you are willing to listen to him or her for as long as it takes. At the same time, you need them to listen to you.

2. We should prioritize what we need to say. While you don’t have to write it out every day, it’s important to remember that their time, like yours, is finite. Talk about what matters the most to you and realize that you are showing respect to the person you are talking to by prioritizing the things you want to be heard.

3. We all have something to say. You should not assume because someone doesn’t speak up much he or she doesn’t have anything to say. We’re all dying to be heard, but there are people who go through this life thinking nobody cares about what they have to say. The best way to rectify this is by letting others know that you care through your listening.

In the practice of VDI, we call this Beyond Active Listening. This is also how you would walk through a crucial conversation that could potentially turn into a conflict.

If there’s conflict, the other person has a different interest in the situation than you do. You can resolve this in several different ways. On a good day you can achieve agreement and partnership; on a bad day, attaining simple compliance might be a victory. Here are some ways to define these various levels of buy-in:

– Compliance: enforcing the established rules and procedures.

– Cooperation: willingly working together to accomplish a task or goal.

– Collaboration: everyone is vested and committed to both the process and the outcome.