Everyone has an interesting story to tell. Start a conversation and listen.

Most of us love to talk. How often are we prepared to ask, listen and really hear another? Feeling heard is acknowledgement that we matter to another and is an incredible mental health benefit.

I hear you.
I hear you.

You are the centre of my attention

Do you recall the sbs tv series Front Up which aired in the 90’s through to the mid 2000’s? Journalist and writer Andrew Urban would spend 20 minutes with a member of the public, somewhere on the street in Australia asking them about them, because everyone has a story.

Haven’t you ever looked at someone – a colleague, a friend, a loved one and wondered to yourself, what would this person really say if they were encouraged to speak openly and from their heart about themselves and their lives. Something that makes up part of who they are?

I loved this series and it has been an inspiration to me ever since. I approach everyone with the premise that they have a story to tell, about their thoughts, feelings, opinions and experiences.

And it will generally be told with some greater level of passion because they sense my interest in and attention on them and they feel heard, right there and then.

And no, it doesn’t take more time. It’s in my day to day dealings with people. It’s simply about being interested rather than feigning interest in someone.

If you don’t do this already, try it. Seek out a conversation with someone – start with one person per day – and focus on making it about them.

It’s not easy at first. We love to jump in and give our account, which generally turns attention away from the other person and back to us.

You’ll be surprised at how you feel and what can be said. An action that engenders real words, with meaning.

Andrew Urban recalls …

Everybody asked me “how did you get people to open up about their private lives?” All I can say is that there were always three golden rules (never written or even articulated, but deeply felt):

1. Never judge people

2. Never make fun of people or manipulate them, never make a freak show

3. Always make them the centre of attention