Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday is Listening Day

One of the things that Iris and I frequently notice is that there are only a few people in my life who ask me questions. I'm not talking about "how's it going?" or "what do you think about all this rain we're having?" I'm also not talking questions like "how can I create a website?" or "can you help me with my computer?"

I'm talking about deeper questions that would have meaningful responses.

Conversationally, this is never a challenge as I like to ask questions. I'm always curious about people, who they are, what they believe and why they do what they do. I'm interested in everything from philosophy to mountain biking and from math and science to music and art.

Sometimes I like to see what happens when I stop asking questions. Quite often the conversation simply stops. There's a long pause and then the person I'm speaking with will mention something about the weather or the Red Sox or the latest news around town, apparently at a loss for words.

Questions on Monday
So, this morning I was thinking that it would be great to declare Monday, August 24 2009, Listening Day. On Listening Day, we exchange gifts called questions.

Creating Your Gifts
There are several steps required to transform a question into a gift suitable for wrapping,

First, the question must have no intent other than curiosity and interest in the person of whom it is asked.

For example, it can't be a "can you help me with..." or "would you go get the..." type of question. It also can't be a an accusation wrapped in a question such as "what the heck were you thinking when you..." It also should lack any direction or command such as "wouldn't you feel better if you just..."

Nope, the question would be a simple what, how or why type of question. The why questions tend to make the best gifts.

Second, to bring the question to life, you must listen lovingly, intently and without judgment to the answer. Really, really, really pay attention. It's the active and focused listening that brings the gift to life.

Third, subsequent questions in your gift package are based on the answers to previous questions all derived from you amazing active listening.

Fourth, this may go without saying, but the questions are best delivered in person or over the phone or even via instant messenger. Interactivity is key.

Will You Celebrate Listening Day?
If you'd like to join me in celebrating Listening Day, then identify some people to whom you'd like to give some questions.

Don't worry about what the questions are? Just focus on that person and creating a loving and accepting attitude. If you'd like to get a running start, build your curiosity about them. Who are they really? What motivates them? What are their passions? What are their fears? What do they want most from life?

I believe that celebrating Listening Monday can have a profound impact on our lives and relationships. If you're someone who "never knows what to say" when meeting people, make every day Listening Day and you will completely transform your life.

So, today, August 24, 2009, I'm celebrating Listening Day. Will you join me?

Have an awesome day!


  1. Mark, you're last two articles hit the mark....just the kind of inspiration I can totally relate to, and share I'm Wow'd. What a gift you are. bw

  2. I didn't read this on monday, and was surprised that neither of the two responses were questions.

    when we talk about the rain it's often a way to start a conversation or to give us self a break, so it could be fun to ask people talking about the weather to close their eyes for a moment (to give them time to relaxe) and then ask them what they were thinking about.

    Mark: what is 5 good questions to pose you (today or in general?



    PS I'll use the question mode on saturday night.


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