Art of Listening

The Art of Listening

Is listening an Art?  I guess it depends on what one is listening to.

Recently I had a busy morning which kicked off super early so by lunchtime, I popped into a café for a sit-down lunch on my own.  An unusual occurrence but knowing I would not be cooking that evening, a lovely treat.

Next to me were two ladies who had obviously met to “catch up” over a bite to eat at lunchtime.

One lady was very quiet, and the other was very energetic and had a voice that carried further. I had a lovely meal and thoroughly enjoyed the food, but I couldn’t help but overhear what No 2 lady was saying.  She obviously leads a full life with a husband, children, a job and seemed like a lady full of fun and joie de vivre.

What struck me when they were leaving was, no 2-lady said, “it was lovely to catch up”.  Since lady 2 did most of the talking I thought just what news she caught up on with her friend.   Then I thought how many of us do that too?

So hence my question is listening an art or manners?  Perhaps it’s both.  When we truly listen, we can hear sadness, joy, an inflection of something is off today or if we are selling something, we may miss the buying signals.

Back to my meal:  loved the food but I felt I was sitting on an aircraft eating off a tray.  Food was served on a very small plate and I had a bit of a job eating and keeping everything neatly on it.  Spearing the baby tomatoes with a big fork gave me a Julia Roberts moment from the film Pretty Woman ……. when she is eating snails.  I did manage to lose one tomato which shot off behind me.

The serving waiter was so nice and when he asked if I enjoyed everything and had I any comments, I just felt I had to share “my experience”.   He listened gravely and felt my opinion warranted the ears of his boss.  His manager was a lovely chap and sat down to listen in earnest to my opinion on how I would serve this dish if I was him.

He really did listen and said he will have a chat with group F & B manager.  To think someone taking the time to really listen to my comment may well lead to this well-known group changing the shape of the serving dish for a lunchtime meal.  Wow, that’s truly listening.  And, I was given an extra cup of tea, all in all, great customer service.

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