June is coming! And with it the ‘Soroptimist Meeting Season’ for many Clubs and Unions – even the Federation is dashing off…. After all, we have all been looking forward to meeting everyone in person again for so long.
Although we have seen the benefits of efficiently moving forward in virtual meetings, we all are happy that the long countdown to meeting in person has come to an end. Finally, we are getting out from behind our flatscreens, where dialogues are indeed ‘flatter’.
While speaking in person is more dynamic, not all of us are proficient or comfortable speakers when delivering our messages to an audience. We often compare ourselves to talented keynote speakers joining us on stage, who encourage engaging dialogue, inspire our thoughts, and trigger us to speak up, getting us to have some much-needed discussions.
How a message is received and how dialogue develops is, however, not the sole result of the speaker’s abilities, but much more the result of the quality of the listener.
If you want to hit the road after a meeting with your head full of sparkling vibes, bright ideas, and feeling motivated to take action, then be a good listener. Attending a meeting is not just hearing words. Hearing is just one of our five senses, which, when taken a step further becomes the art known as listening – a talent one can certainly acquire.
Too many people do not listen with the intent to understand, but with the intent to reply. Too often this results in them missing important details, nuances, and the depth of what is being said. A perfect breeding ground for misunderstandings and false assumptions. Speakers are always trying to find out about the audience’s profile because they know that listeners will hear what they say with the filter of their background, culture and professional heritage. This knowledge can help them to connect with their audience, where they hope to find open mindsets, ready to reconsider and overrule entrenched ideas.
I wish you all inspiring talks, exchanges, dialogues and lots of takeaways from the many meetings ahead!
Here’s to us all speaking, listening, and stepping up!
SIE President 2021-2023
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Linkedin: Soroptimist International of Europe