Being There

Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that the number of motor vehicle fatalities from January through September 2021 was the highest number of deaths during the first six months of any year since 2006.

It was also the highest percentage increase during the first nine months in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s history.

What happened? Did everyone forget to how to drive after working from home for so long.

The New York Times attributed the increase to “erratic behavior” from stress and increased drug usage, both triggered by the pandemic.

Personally, I see distracted drivers on the road all the time, stealing a quick (or not-so-quick) glance at the phone in their lap or hands.

Thatcher Wine, author of The Twelve Monotasks: Do One Thing at a Time to Do Everything Better, writes that “We can get more done if we give our full attention to one thing at a time instead of doing multiple things at once.”

He includes “Getting There” in his list of Twelve Monotasks and notes that practicing this monotask can be a matter of life or death.

For financial advisors and planners, one key monotask is “listening” which connects us to others. Do you struggle to fully pay attention when listening? If so, here are three tips to improve:

  1. According to the Harvard Business Review, repeating a person’s last few words back to them is one of the best things you can do to make the other person feel listened to and help stay on track during the conversation.
  2. Provide “minimal encouragers” such as making eye contact, nodding your head, and verbally reacting with sounds like, “mmhmm.” But don’t force it – give just enough to prompt further conversation. If you think about it too much, you’re not listening!
  3. Slow down. Listening is not a competition sport. Be willing to let the conversation go silent for a while. Remember that you have two ears and one mouth. Or as Stephen R. Covey says: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Ultimately, it’s not about you. According to Fred Rogers, “In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.”

To be a good listener – it’s a matter of being still and being there.

, ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply