Yesterday morning one of our senior patients came into the office with a packet of pictures in his hand. He usually has a positive outlook on life, but today he really was shinning.

After his appointment he stopped by my office and said to me, “look at the pictures of the ship I was on for my vacation.”  I then remembered that the last time he was in he told us of his impending trip to London and a cruise that he would be taking.

I told him I would love to see his pictures and they indeed were beautiful.  He stayed aboard the Queen Elizabeth, the photos of the ship were breathtaking.  As I looked through them I called another staff member over to take a look.

We asked our patient to tell us a little bit about his trip, which he was very excited to do.  We listened patiently and then asked him a few questions which he was so eager to answer.

Did we have other work to do?  YES, but what had more value?  Our patient’s care and taking the time to listen to him, had the greater value at the moment.

So often we are not even aware of how we stifle communication with others.  There are several things that we may do that turn people off when they are trying to talk to us.  Ignoring or interrupting the speaker is one of the all-time offenses.

We have all done this to someone at one time or another and have also had it done to us.  It is so frustrating when you are trying to say something or get a point across and before you can finish the thought the person you are speaking to jumps in with their own ideas and you don’t even know if they heard what you said, and they really didn’t because you weren’t finished.

Another frustrating communication issue is that when you do get to finish what you are saying and the other person has a come back that is negative.  They never agree or acknowledge what you said, they just disagree with it and present their view.

It is virtually impossible to have a two-way conversation with a person who really is not interested in hearing you, but only interested in hearing themselves.

Communication is tricky to say the least, it takes active listening and being sensitive to differences, using positive statements instead of negative.  Most of all we need the willingness to take the time to understand and be understood.

Remember the next time someone is talking to you to take time to really hear them and then respond in a positive way. You can make the difference in how they feel about themselves and also have a positive affect on their day.  Tell me who doesn’t want to feel good at the end of the day?

When we had finished looking at our patient’s pictures and asking him just a few questions (all of which took a few minutes) he had such a pleased look on his face and said to us (3 times) as he left the office, thank you and have a great day!

It cost us virtually a few minutes to make this gentleman happy and I am sure that he took this happiness with him throughout the day.

Such small price to pay to make someone happy, don’t you think?  Can you take a few minutes to add value to someone’s day by taking the time to listen?