Recently, I have started once again writing my leadership blog, located on my business website. It has been great to get back into it. Anyway, I have been trying to pull together some posts around listening for my leadership blog, and that gave me the idea to do something a little different for this Talkback Tuesday post.

Below is a sound recording of a poem that is quite well known here in Australia: My Country by Dorothea Mackellar. The invitation is to listen to the recording of the poem, noticing your thoughts and feelings as you listen.

When the recording of the poem ends, there is a further invitation to use the comments below to share whatever you are willing to share about the thoughts that came up for you while listening to the poem. We can then to use everyone’s comments to lead into a discussion about listening.

There are some ideas for discussion points below, and for the purposes of the exercise, it would be best to read these after listening to the poem.

Here is the poem, first published in 1908 and read by me for the purposes of this post:

My Country by Dorothea Mackellar

Some ideas for discussion in the comments:

  • What pictures were occurring in your thoughts as you listened to the poem?
  • What were you saying to yourself as you listened?
  • What feelings, sensations, and ideas occurred to you as you listened?

As a leadership and life coach, these points are all points that I am able to help people to explore. If you feel that it would be useful to HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH ME, please feel free to view my services on the Leading and Being website. 

Featured Image Source: With thanks to Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

8 thoughts on “Talkback Tuesday 11 July 2019

  1. or me the landscape was dry went on for miles with nothing there. It was sad as it was so dry and the death of animals cattle I think she said due to drought. But once it rained greenness came in and the landscape changed!

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    1. Thank you for sharing. It is great to hear what the poem meant to you. Ever since I was little, whenever I hear this poem it is like I am watching a movie filled with reds, oranges and browns. I don’t see anything as such, just lots of the colours that I associate with outback Australia, so red, orange and brown, all very vividly flicking by as I imagine the dirt and the sunsets colliding in my mind.

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    2. I have been on a couple of workshops where this poem was read out, and everyone in the group – on one occasion about 15-20 people – had very different interpretations of the poem. Some people talked about how they viewed a landscape, some people had thoughts similar to yours, one person mentioned that it always reminded them of a certain teacher because that teacher was the first to read the poem out to the individual, another said that they disliked the poem because it reminded them of school, and someone else said that it filled them with gratitude because they had moved here from a very young age and the poem reminded them of the country that had accepted them. Nearly everyone in the room had a different answer. None of them were right or wrong, just different, The interesting thing was that, at the workshop, they all heard the poem at the same time, read by the same person yet they all created their own meaning. This is a great example of how we listen. We listen from our history, our experiences, our moods, our emotions, our interpretation of what is important to us, and so forth. We use all of that to create our own meaning. When Dorothea Mackellar wrote the poem, her intended meaning may have been completely different to all or some of the meaning that many of us have made from it. Yet, regardless of what she intended, we each interpreted it according to our own listening. This is an example of how the meaning of a message is really in the way in which it is received, rathe4 than how it is spoken. Sometimes, when we are communicating with others, it might be helpful to try to understand what might be going on in their listening so that we can tailor our communication appropriately. For example, I once had a manager for whom authority was important. We used to butt heads constantly, until I started to speak to him in a way that “spoke” to what was important to him around authority.

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      1. That’s made me think! So true that we do all have stories and no two interpretations are the same! I can’t believe it’s something I’ve never thought or paid attention too! I know we all have our stories but hadn’t thought how are stories affect how we listen. Hope that makes sense!

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      2. Yes, it took me a while to get my head around this interpretation when I first heard it. However, I think it is fascinating and quite powerful. Even our assessments of others change how we listen to them. Think of a colleague who you very much respect and a colleague who you don’t really know or trust. Imagine them each telling you exactly the same thing. What thoughts would be going on for you as each spoke? That’s listening. Listening to a understanding what we are saying to ourselves when others speak (and why) is incredibly powerful because we can then have a say in how our thoughts inform our actions.

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