In many of our blogs we have sought to underscore the importance of listening, really listening to our clients (See our empathy blog, for example). Sometimes, it is just seems so blatantly obvious to us exactly what the issue is with a client and we want so much to offer the oh-so-apparent fix, all, we believe, in service of the client we serve. Consider this humorous yet poignant vignette:
Stevie Wonder’s lyrics at the end of the clip echo her concern, ‘Try to see things my way’ indeed! While the video is an exaggeration, the ‘point’ (pun intended) is not. When the listener in the video said, simply, “that sounds really hard,” the reaction of the woman is so visibly palpable, so telling, and so important. She was heard, regardless of what was so, apparently, glaringly obvious to him. If our clients are not heard, the alternative reverberates from Stevie Wonder’s song, ‘Do I have to keep on talking/Till I can’t go on.’ And so, we come back to the title, it’s really not about the nail, it’s about listening at a very empathetic level and it’s a skill that can be learned – taught and caught – with practice, intention, and commitment in your work. What if, to paraphrase Stephen R. Covey (in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), we listened with the intent to understand rather than listened with the intent to reply? What would it be like to see past each client’s ‘nail’? What would it offer each client? What would it offer you?