"...A great conversationalist is a person who speaks to you about you."
This was a snippet of a longer quote I heard that really struck me. I have always regarded myself to be a pretty good in social settings. Being in sales and marketing during my work life, I already knew that the top tier sales people were curious listeners. The problem is that we have a tendency to want to talk about ourselves that can prevent us from truly getting to know the person next to us, who also wants to be SEEN, HEARD, & UNDERSTOOD!
One of the main reasons we gather at Men's Shed is to interact and build relationships. They are hard to come by these days. Men's Shed brings the elements for relationship together. We provide the social space and time to visit. We provide a shop space where we can interact "shoulder to shoulder". We have regular monthly mingles involving food and fellowship. All you have to add is your ears!
How well do you really know the person working alongside you? How many questions do you ask to really get to know that more reserved guy in the room. Perhaps you're missing out on a valuable new friendship that we have worked so hard to bring within an arms length at The Shed. My Father-In-Law, Lloyd was one of those guys. Not the first to speak, a quiet man that didn't speak about himself readily. A wonderful generous man I could always count on for a hand and a kind word. I might have overlooked Lloyd in a room full of guys. It would be my loss.
I took an Executive Coaching course at Royal Roads several years ago, and carried some SHU coins in my pocket for about a year after. Every time I fished inside my pocket for change, the SHU coin would remind me to pay extra attention to the person in front of me. I was recently reminded that I need to make some more coins on the label machine next trip to The Shed.
We have so many wonderful tools and settings at The Shed to facilitate engagement with one another. Let me encourage you to sharpen the tools you bring with you every visit, guys. Be curious. Ask follow up questions. Be attentive in your conversations. Be prepared to repeat back what you just heard to prove it. Prepare to be appreciated for making someone feel like they have been genuinely SEEN HEARD & UNDERSTOOD.
Put a SHU in your pocket. You will be richer for it!