Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Sun, Jun 13 2004

Listening Even When No One Is Talking

I really like the piece Anne Holmquest did for Aberdeen News today. I've taken several "active listening" courses when I was training to do volunteer work for crisis phone lines and other community work. The problem is that many people don't give you much to listen to. They are secretive, guarded individuals who dole out information to you only when it suits their ego's best interests. This sort of thing is compounded by the fact that we all have familial, cultural and ethnic differences that can make a seemingly innocent question or statement come across as an affront, such as in the case of inter-cultural business negotiation.

People who have been involved in controlling cults or who have been abused as children often resist active listening techniques, because they have been forced to maintain so much secrecy in their life that they have never learned any other coping mechanism. People who battle eating disorders or alcoholism often shut down even more when someone tries to encourage them to open up, and may even lash out at the person attempting to reach out to them.

Even things like birth order can apparently play a part in how people perceive your willingness to be a good listener, and how willing they are to reciprocate.

We can't possibly know all these things about people when we have a casual encounter with them on the street. If we stopped to question their background before we interacted with them, they might retreat even further, or they might take umbrage and tell us just what we can do with our active listening techniques. It's frustrating. I'm not ready to give up and walk around in a bubble, where the only interaction with people is on a factual, militaristic, need-to-know basis. That's too boring and cold for me. I guess I'll just keep fumbling my way through. I might make some folks really unhappy and I might get shot down now and then. But maybe, just maybe, now and then I might discover some real gems of fun or meaningful communication with other people that I would have missed if I hadn't taken a risk.

posted at: 11:08 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Handheld Computing

If the whole handheld computer market is in for a wee bit of downtime, as suggested in this PC World article, why is a handheld device that is capable of running Windows XP about to join the rest of the pack? The OQO debuts this later this year. Tiqit can also operate Windows XP, but doesn't seem to be getting the same notice as the OQO. I will be watching progress and prices, for now. These devices have always had limited appeal for me, partly because of the tedious keyboards they tend to have, and the tiny viewing screens that are probably adequate for those under the age of 40. I wouldn't necessarily balk at a higher price for a handheld computer, if someone offered one with speedy typing and a large viewing screen. An added plus would be extended battery time, but that's a whole other topic for a whole other day.

posted at: 07:37 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!