Johnny Listened

The art of listening. Johnny Carson, the King of late night for almost thirty years, as I was growing up, was famous for two primary things. One was his comedy monologues, and the other was his interviewing finesse.

Of the two, even he admitted when a joke did not go well. Sometimes that’s what he turned into a successful monologue, a bad joke. He knew how to turn a “bomb-o” into a hit. While his monologues may have had one or two misses, you never hear anyone say that about his listening skills.

Instead, you hear how he always made his guests look good. How he could be as interested in the farmer from Idaho, as he was Frank Sinatra. People say things like, he never tripped up a guest’s last words. In other words, he had learned the art of listening. 

It’s funny, regardless of what host today, or tonight, people may be fond of, I don’t hear anyone mentioning this. They say that, after Carson left, he may have stopped performing, but he never stopped listening.

Listening, truly listening, is more than a get ahead skill, or good communication. It’s more than a wonderful learning tool. It is a way of showing others how much you care about them. Listening never started an argument. To start an argument you have to stop listening, and start talking, or acting in anger. 

Listening shows others, what they have to say is worth hearing. It’s empowering to others. Listening says, I’m open to your opinion. Listening communicates the value of others in your life, not just to them, but to you.

People that you take the time to listen too, know you are on their side. Even if, after they get finished speaking, and that’s the most important part, letting them finish, you disagree, they know you value their insight. Also, a man that finds himself listening, will find himself being listened too. Johnny did, and because he listened, America listened to him for almost thirty years.  

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