Saturday, February 9, 2013

Spreading Sparkles

Today's Sparkle Saturday could also be called "Sparkly Snow Saturday."

Before I can explain my thoughts on sharing sparkles with others, I need to put down several of my central thoughts.

  • Everyone wants to feel valued.
  • Everyone wants to feel cared for.
  • Everyone wants to feel they make a difference.
  • The person who listens is the most popular and valuable person around.

One of the most powerful ways to share sparkles is to LISTEN.

Most people want to talk. Most people want to be heard. There is job security for the friend who is a good listener. Few people compete for the spot. Develop your powers of listening, of asking leading questions to illicit conversation and you will be valued. More than that, you will hear stories about things outside of your experience and your world will broaden.

Frankly I know this from observing my mother. I'm certainly not a talented listener myself. Mom is the best listener I know. She has always maintained that by asking the right questions, she can hear very interesting stories. She already knows the stories she has to tell.

I am not by nature a good listener. I have suffered under the illusion that I am an interesting person with stories that other people must want to hear. This is part of what drives me as a writer. It is an advantage to have this belief when you are in the act of writing, but it doesn’t get you much in terms of material or in understanding the human heart. When writing nonfiction it is all the more important to listen and gather information. Focusing on our own selves gets in the way.

As a novice listener, I am often guilty of the mistake of thinking that making connections means that hearing the story of someone who lost their shoe should be the intro to my even funnier story of the time I lost a shoe. While sharing stories around a theme can be fun and be delightful for everyone, there is another way to share sparkles.

I have spent the week thinking about this and gathering a list of tips for better listening. I have gathered this for my own use, not as a list of things I can tell you because I am so skilled at them. I have a long way to go. I will share them with you.

Tips for active listening:

  • Try to stop yourself from thinking about what you will say next and really listen to the person in front of you.
  • Clarify. If you are not sure you understand, ask. 
  • Remember to use the five W words to get more information – Who did you turn to for help? What did you do then? Where did you hear about it? When did this happen? Why did you decide to start bungee jumping? How did it make you feel? 
  • Help extend their tale telling by asking questions. What else did you see while you were there? Are there any more like it? What are the experiences that you remember most from your time there?
  • Turn the subject when your speaker seems to be pained by the memory. Find some tangential aspect of the story to tell your own and then apologize for taking over the conversation. This is a great time for you to tell that story you were dying to tell a little while earlier.
  • Don’t wait for your speaker to bring up a topic. Ask questions. I have a student who likes to come and help me. An awkward silence developed one day so I started asking the party game questions – favorite color, food, etc. I found out that he has a passion for cooking and we ended up sharing recipes. The time we spend together has become so much more productive because we know more about each other.

My favorite question to ask?

Would you like some more tea? 

What are your tips for being a better listener?

For more sparkle visit:

Emmy Blue : Children's entertainer and writer who tells her own magical tales and spreads sparkling enchantments all over the Pacific Northwest

Yota Schneider : Seasons of Change Master Coach * Writer * Speaker * Retreats Facilitator * Mindfulness Meditation Practitioner * Mom * Wife * Friend * Ever striving gardener and finder of beauty and peace in the little things This is An Online Holistic Arts Center created by Kat WB! Enjoy virtual classes, holistic coaching, a holistic blog, KatWB TV and resources for nutrition, sustainability & self-help.


  1. Yet another gem! Thank you, Lynda! And, yes . . . I'll definitely have some more tea:-)
    I love that you consider being a good listener a sparkling quality! I hadn't thought of that and, wow, it makes so much sense.
    One of the things I had to work on over the years is to not rush and fill in the gaps. There is great value in the "pregnant pause!" One can hear things not said and feel her way though.
    Stay warm and keep sparkling! xoxo

  2. Thanks for the affirmation, Yota. We'll have to have a pot of tea someday. I know this little tea shop....

    People bloom when you listen to them. People bloom when their voices are heard. I've seen the sparkle in the eye of the teller. It's a gift to listen.

    I have a feeling that you are already talented at this.


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