The Perfect Gift

The Perfect Gift

Here’s a gift for everyone on your list-

Listen to them

Here’s why it’s so good:

  • It costs you nothing.
  • You don’t have to think of anything to say.
  • The speaker will like it


Also, it can be easy to do once you get used to doing it.  But if you have not been in the habit of listening, you may have to demonstrate your new skill and intention a few times, because up to now you’ve trained your speaker to be wary, suspicious, defensive, and prepared to speak in ways that are provocative and challenging.

Declaring your intention can help. Try this:  ‘I want to hear what you have to say/think/want/believe/like/suggest, and I promise I will listen and not argue or comment until you ask me to do so.  I may ask a clarifying question, but if I do it is only to help me understand.”

Then open your mind and receive info.  No eye-rolling, head-shaking, smirking.  Don’t waste time answering in your head or gathering outrage.  Recognize that what you’re hearing is something that is true for that person at that moment.  Let it in.

If the encounter needs help, remember that speakers are as cautious about speaking as you may be about listening- say encouraging things like  ‘Go on; say more about that; help me understand what that means.’  If your mind control is set at ‘accept’, your comments will be acceptable.

When the speaker finishes, you say thank you.  ‘Thank you for telling me that; I understand now.’  You can say this because understanding doesn’t mean agreeing.

Do you get to talk?  Maybe, but not in this round.  This is your gift- Listening.  Do it.

Spend some time on our website to learn more about how our courses and services could improve your operations — If it’s easier, call me directly at 202-298-7700.


Judith Pollock, President
Language at Work
4931 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016
Phone 202-298-7700



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