How Do You Know When You’ve Been Heard?

DSC00779This post was inspired by the thoughtful comments I received on last week’s post about The Fear of Speaking Publicly. If you haven’t already done so, hop over and have a read.

Last week’s commenters felt that when they spoke up, city leaders found ways to silence them and that people and the media were not willing to listen when they expressed their opinions.

This gets kind of deep, but I think it’s at the root of the issue: When you are expressing an idea or opinion, how do you know you’ve been heard? What does the listener have to do to make you believe that your idea or opinion is not being summarily dismissed? Is there some specific action or words the listener must take for you to know you’ve been heard?

As Shelby said last week, “We are becoming a community where people react to others opinions and not respond to another person.”

How, then, do those in the city’s power positions respond rather than simply react? Going a step further, because WE, THE PEOPLE, are part of this democracy, how do we learn to listen and respond so that others feel heard, rather than simply reacting?