Sunday, 18 May 2014

Writing - They covered their ears

As writers we are involved in the various realms of communication. The sermon given at our church Christ The King, Battyeford by Chris Swift was based on the gospel when St. Stephen wasn't listened to and ultimately stoned to death.

The message, as I understood it, was that we have to be active listeners if we are to prevent such dreadful misunderstandings.

'Listening is never as straight forward as it sounds. Sometimes people hear our words but don't make the effort to understand what we are saying. We all know the phone conversations when we're trying to communicate but all we hear are non-committal 'mms' and 'ahhs' on the other end. Probably the person is multi-tasking, dividing their attention and failing to really take in what we are saying.'

This section reminds me of cold calls that we all probably receive from time to time when you can't get through the script the person on the other end of the phone is using to explain your own position and therefore save time on both your parts.

Chris talked about passive and active listening and to a degree there are similarities between the passive listener and the passive reader. I have found myself having to re-read sections of a book or article when my attention has been taken away. When we write we hope to engage the reader so that passive reading does not take over from the active.

'Active listening is the opposite of passive hearing and involves a deep listening to the concerns of another person. The person is listened to by the words they use; the silences they make; and the body language that accompanies their words.'

A few moments after the above scene the Russian President is questioned as to why the USA representatives have had to travel to Russia. His reply runs along the lines of,

'so that you can hear my words and observe the language of my body'

When we write we want the 'active readers' of our tales to fully engage with the stories that we write so that they can derive the true message of our words.

God Bless