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Friday, February 6, 2015

Listening at ALA

Listening is not waiting for the other person to stop talking. It's paying close attention both to the person and the topic.

I'm just back from American Library Association's midwinter 2015 conference. It was in Chicago, which happens to be not so far from where I was born and raised (Waukegan, to the north). 

I am a candidate for the presidency of the ALA. I met with some 30-odd groups in my time there, as well as speaking with dozens of conference attendees in the halls.

My spiel (the 10 second intro) was something like this: "here come my flyers, articulating my background and platform. But I believe that leadership begins with listening. So I won't read to you what you can read for yourself. My question to you is this: what do you want your next ALA president to know about your key issues or initiatives?"

And then I shut up. And I listened. It turns out that there are a lot of insightful and articulate people in the association, well worth paying attention to.

It's funny and sad how many people tell you that listening is important, but somehow never get around to it. 

What did they tell me? Next post(s)!


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