1979 found me starting at Cayuga Community College. I was in the Telecommunications Technology program and had every intention of become an engineer at a radio or TV station. That was before I found out that engineers did not make that much (less thn $20,000). I did earn my 3rd class radio telephone license which enabled me to man the DJ booth at the college radio station for one four hour shift per week. WDWN FM 89, Auburn, NY!
My college professor was Jeff Delbel who since then became the dean of the college and a nationally recognized author. I have not read any of his three novels yet, but I will. I ran into Prof. Delbel in Auburn recently in the parking lot behind Speno’s Music. We reminisced a bit and I was reminded of a coffee house festival that Prof. Delbel and I did in Pennsylvania.
There was one show in particular that I recall setting up for. Prof. Delbel was meticulous regarding getting the sound in a venue just right which involved using a noise generator to check the acoustics in the room. The talent for the show walked up to us and we were informed one of the sounds levels was a little off. Prof. Delbel asked which one, grabbed that knob and asked the talent if that was better. The guy said it was, smiled and returned to the stage. At that point Jeff turned the knob back to the original position.
I asked Prof. Delbel about that, as I noticed he had put the knob back to where it was. He said, “Yes, but they will never know the difference.” And the talent was happy because he felt like his concerned had been addressed.
I took a people skills seminar when I worked for Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES when I was around thirty. The single most important thing to people in the workplace was not money or position. It was being heard.
When I owned an Internet Service back in the 1995, I once did a bit of an experiment. I would take tech support calls and just listen to peoples’ complaints but would not give them an answer or help them. They all seemed to be happy just because I listened. Fixing the issue was of secondary importance.
People like to feel like they have a voice; that they are being listened to. It is not all that important to agree all the time but it is important to listen. We all have two ears and one mouth. I think it has been God’s intention all along that we listen twice as much as we speak.
The next time someone approaches you with something on their mind, hear them out. It could just be that just listening to them is all they need.
And sometimes all you need to do is turn the knob just a little.