The Quiet Art of Listening

Are you listening?

What I’m about to say might sound sacrilegious, but it’s true:

Surveys aren’t always the answer.

Don’t get me wrong. I love surveys. I love asking questions, getting answers, and learning something new.

But sometimes, I want more. Beyond the single-select answer sets, beyond the rating scales, and even beyond the character constraints of even the most generous text box, there’s more to the story. Not everything can be boiled down to statistics and charts and graphs.

  • If you’re scientifically minded, you might be thinking: Yes, focus groups! Case studies!
  • If you trend toward the humanities, like me, you’re probably thinking: Yes! Story time!

No matter your preferences, there’s a good chance you’re spending some time around a table with friends and family this week. Thanksgiving is the perfect time for digging in — and not just into that dreamy pile of mashed potatoes I’m eagerly anticipating.

Where is this headed? The National Day of Listening aka The Great Thanksgiving Listen aka Friday!  

This Friday, it’s time to celebrate the deep data dive that is a good conversation. Storytelling, listening, and learning are the driving forces behind StoryCorps, the organization that spearheads this effort. Whether you’re looking for a few good questions to start the ball rolling, ideas about how to record and share your conversation, or maybe just one app to unite us all, StoryCorps has been rolling out the red carpet to invite deep, meaningful conversations into our lives. This lovely video says it pretty well, too.



So, dive in! Sure, it’s pie time, but it’s also high time we valued listening.


*The opinions expressed here are my own. I do also believe that surveys are awesome. ;)