The Talking Stick is a symbol for the communication that is based on listening. It is also a physical, beautiful object that makes the whole thing much more fun and easy because you can see with your eyes who is supposed to talk and who should listen. We live in the age of communication and there is a lot of talking going on, but how much do we listen? And how much do we listen to our selves?
There are people who teach children to use the Talking Stick and there are also people who teach the art of listening to world leaders. William Ury is such a person, a world famous negotiation expert, and he is working with the big leaders in the world, helping them to handle serious conflicts. He has worked as a negotiation adviser and mediator in conflicts in the Middle East, the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, Indonesia, Yugoslavia, Chechnya, and Venezuela among other countries. He does not present a painted stick with pearls and feathers to the directors and presidents, but he is using other tactics to invoke ”the spirit of listening” and he is here telling about a meeting with Ugo Chavez where the whole aggressive attitude of the president got changed in just half an hour because William silently just listened to him.
If you study the behaviour of successfull negitiators you find that they listen far more than they talk, he says. Negotiation is to try to change someone else´s mind, but how can you do that if you do not know where the other person´s mind is? Listening is the key! It builds report and trust.
Real listening is to tune in to the other person´s wave length and to listen from that person´s frame of reference. We listen to the feelings, emotions and needs that are behind the words, what that person really needs or wants.
He says that his dream is a ”listening revolution” that could turn this Age of Communication into an Age of True Communication.
Imagine a world where every child learns to listen at an early age! What if we taught listening in school? Imagine a world where parents learn to listen to their children! Imagine a world where leaders learn to listen to the people! What if we chose leaders based on their ability to listen and not just talk?