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Today I met an old woman from the village who gave me an apple. It was a very simple, very human gesture that made me smile. I took the apple and bit it happily. While I was eating she used the time to tell me all about her apple tree, her cow, her backyard. I listened carefully, nodded where I was supposed to, laughed the appropriate amount, answered when I was asked and had a very pleasant conversation in genuine. Before I realized it I also told her all about my trees and garden, and backyard.
Later, when I thought about it I got to the conclusion that this was a kind of a deal that we made, me and the old lady. With the giving of the apple she asked non verbally for my attention, which I was glad to give her. She traded the fruit of her work for my time, attention and stories. It is the world's simplest transaction. The communication happened under the terms of this beautiful bribe.
The next thought made me sad. In the way most of us live today, there is very small possibility this kind of trade to exist. Imagine how a sales person in a booth gives away a magazine, just to chat with you or one in a shoe shop gives you a pair of shoes just to see you smile. I highly doubt it. In our superb virtual ways of communication it is like we have lost the pillars of communication. We don't desire other people's attention, we are just looking for an audience to tell what's on our mind.
I believe that in order to be heard, we need to return to the base of communication. We need to remember how to read expressions and body language, how to interpenetrate other people's behavior and most of all to listen. Not only to speak in order to express ourselves, but to fully comprehend what the other one has to say about it. Furthermore we should really be interested in their words, because words matters. They are far from being the only one component in the process of communication, but it is a basic one.
I think that if we try listening, this can take us far. And not only listening to other people. One should listen to his/hers intuition, body, the surroundings and definitely not to our own voice in a conversation. Only by drawing information from the inside and the outside we can get full answers to our questions.