Who doesn't love a good story? Juicy details, suspense, sweaty palms. The other day my friend was describing her first sky diving experience, walking me through ALL the little details, I tell ya, my palms were sweating, leaning forward on my elbows, she had my full attention, and I am ready to jump myself after hearing her experience!
While the story itself is powerful, it is also just as critical that the listener participate fully for the story to have impact! The Listener holds as much importance as the story! When a story is being told, there is always the chance of interruption, distraction or the like to derail the speaker. All of this to be said, the power of listening is key to the success of the story. Without a participating listener, the story can not be told.
There is a game in the world of improv called "Yes, And" that wraps a nice bow-tie around the concept of story telling and listening. The following definition according to wikipedia articulates the concept.
"Yes, and..." is a rule-of-thumb response in improvisational comedy that suggests a participant should accept what another participant has stated ("yes") and then expand on that line of thinking ("and").
The "Yes" portion of the rule encourages the acceptance of the contributions added by others. Participants in an improvisation are encouraged "to agree to the basic situation and set-up." Thus, "By saying yes, we accept the reality created by our partners and begin the collaborative process."
In addition to accepting the premise offer by others, a participant in an improvisation is expected to add new information into the narrative. Hence the phrase "Yes, And!"
Yes, we accept the reality created by our partners and begin the collaborative process.
Acceptance and then collaboration, that can not happen without active listening! Make the choice to listen, without looking for an "in" to be relevant, instead wait for the speaker to complete their thought and then once they have reached a pause, contribute authentically.
Remember when communicating the Yes, And game, Listening is a powerful, under utilized skill that can go the distance when properly utilized. Listen thoughtfully, and then, begin to collaborate.
Lindsey Rainwater, also known as Lindsey RainH2O, is a sought-after business consultant, leadership coach, writer and presenter to the fitness and wellness industry. For more information about Rainwater, follow her on Twitter @LindseyRainH2O or check out her website www.linseyrainh2o.com.