Why Listening First Matters
Opening doors for those who seek guidance during trying times
When disagreements happen, it’s always hard to proceed with meaningful, more in-depth conversations to help understand and analyze independent thoughts. Everything we do revolves around communication and our ability to effectively share ideas, thoughts, and feelings into what we want others to experience with us. It’s proven to be even more difficult with current times and the struggles, frustrations, and anger that most are facing. While storytelling can be just as compelling as a tool, I’ve often said, if no one is listening on the other end, your message is nothing but lost.
Interestingly enough, I thought my career was going to be built on storytelling. In fact, throughout my career, most of my former coworkers encouraged me to get into Marketing and Business Development because, well, quite frankly, I talked too much to sit behind a computer for eight-plus hours a day. I took that to mean that if I was good at speaking and was loud enough, that my voice was sure to be heard. It didn’t take very long for me to realize only the opposite is true.
We can only provide solutions to situations by listening first. It’s something we at Elevatus Architecture take very seriously. Providing our clients with the utmost respect means that our ability to draw and design is secondary to listening. It doesn’t matter if all we design is our vision. It likely doesn’t solve the problem and very well may not serve the need. We rely on clients to tell us their thoughts. Ideas and dreams, and most of the time, it exposes their biggest frustrations. If we respond too quickly with what we think they need to fix it, the messaging becomes lost in that we didn’t listen enough.
“One of the most sincere forms of respect
is actually listening to what another has to say.”
– Bryant McGill
Professionally, we’ve been in the middle of some difficult decisions, but to properly process solutions, all team members are encouraged to voice opinions and be heard. There is no doubt in our business that some of our projects are not always the most popular among community members. Yet, they are absolutely necessary to serve a need. We continue to hit crossroads with community members, public officials, and the end-users on what the facility’s needs are, to how it’s supposed to function and operate, to the expected life of materials, etc. At the end of the project, however, we all come together as a unified design team that surpassed the challenges to design better solutions and ultimately improve missions.
I’ve been practicing the art of mindfulness in almost every aspect of my life since learning its real intention and power in 2017. It’s helped me relax more, be more present in conversations with our staff, our clients, and maybe, more importantly, my family and friends. I immediately feel if I’m engaged and can properly channel my energy the right way to help conversations progress. It also pulls me into some of the most meaningful and rewarding friendships with our clients; I could ever ask for. And to me, that’s the benefit of a mutually respectful relationship.