In a number of my previous blog posts, I made reference to the importance of listening and how this enhances the efficacy of communication. A lot of other people talk about it too. And that’s a good thing.
But I’m wondering how much of the information we get from listening do we actually remember when we’d like to or need to? Taking notes is one way to capture new information but frankly sometimes it just isn’t appropriate to break a conversation so that we can capture a thought, a name or an idea. So often, we have to rely on what we remember.
Personally, that is a scary thought as my memory for some things is, well, awful. A little research has enlightened me however to the possibility that it doesn’t have to be awful as long as I give it some regular exercise. So why would I want to?
Here’s why. There is magic in remembering.
Many years ago, when I was working as a Personnel Officer in the Head office of a very large organization, I was invited to attend a breakfast and listen to the President & Chairman of the Board, talk about our goals and challenges. The organization employed at that time, something in the neighbourhood of 35,000 people worldwide and so you can imagine that the goals and challenges were significant.
Before we sat down to breakfast the Chairman took a turn about the room, which was hosting about 350 people. Quite by accident, he happened upon me. I introduced myself and we talked for a very brief time. And then he moved on.
Well, we had breakfast and then the Chairman got up to speak. He was eloquent in his description of the organizational goals and realistic when he described the challenges we faced.
And then the magic happened. He said something like, “I was talking to Gwyn earlier and she reminded me of the importance of people to our organization”
Suddenly, I was no longer a blurred face in the crowd or a very small cog in a very large wheel. I felt important. I felt heard. And I felt included.
He had remembered my name.
Remembering details, like people’s names, may seem like a small thing when we have so many other things competing for our time and attention. But simple acts of acknowledgement are very powerful. They make us want to participate. They make us want to do better and be better. And that is, to me at least, the essence of employee engagement.
I’m going to work on improving my memory. How about you?