Take a Good Listen


By: Suzanne Reisler Litwin     

Here I am with my head in the sink. I’m getting my hair shampooed in preparation for a good solid haircut.  Sometimes it’s wonderful to have someone else shampoo your hair. For some reason I think they do a way better job than I do.

Next to me was a young lady having a conditioning treatment applied to her hair.  She was talking about how she “hated” the Valentine’s Day gift her husband gave her.

“Can you believe he gave me a box of chocolate covered pretzels? I mean really, doesn’t he realize that I work out like a maniac to keep my body in great shape. I don’t eat sweets or salt, and I certainly don’t eat carbs! I mean really, is he that totally stupid or something?”

Then it got more interesting…

“I told him the only thing to get me for Valentine’s Day is perfume or jewelry. Anything else? Just don’t bother!”

Then it got ridiculous…

“The next day I told that idiot to meet for lunch. We had lunch and then I dragged him to a jewelry store.  I made him buy me earrings. That’s showed him. We’re all good now. It’s all good.”

My first thought was, “Run Forrest Run!”Take a Good Listen, Suzanne Reisler Litwin, Words,Lessons, Rhonda Massad, News, West Island Blog, Listening, Human Behaviour

I was giggling inside. Wow! That was quite a display of verbal diarrhea.   Did everyone in the hair salon have to hear this?

I wondered if this young woman heard herself speak. Maybe her head was so deep into the sink; she didn’t hear the words that came out of her mouth? If she did hear herself, would she still be so willing to verbalize such disrespectful words about her beloved husband?

I wonder?

Listening to people is very important. Listening to one’ self is even more important.  Hearing what you say, how you say it and why you say it, is important.

I’m not suggesting to curb yourself to please others or not to be yourself.  I’m simply suggesting to take the time to not only listen to others, but to also listen to yourself.

When I was doing my instructor’s estage at Concordia University, I had a wonderful opportunity to be video recorded. Three of my lectures we recorded and analyzed by an Education Instructor Specialist.

I was given the recordings of my lectures.  I was also given a self-analysis questionnaire.   I was required to view the lessons and analyze my performance and self.

Wow!  That was a huge personal awareness campaign. The evaluation criterion was quite intensive.  I had to measure my verbal skills, professional delivery, content delivery, instructor and student perspective, likability, professionalism, attitude, speech, etc.   The questionnaire was very detailed and very long. I studied the recordings and studied myself.  At times, I did not like what I saw and heard.

After completing the self-evaluation and analysis, I met with the Specialist to discuss her analysis of my lectures. We compared our notes. She gave me very constructive criticism which needed to be applied to in order to successfully complete the estage.

I didn’t realize so much about myself.  I needed to stop saying the word. “Uhmm”. I needed to have better focus on the students who were talking. I had to stop rushing through the material.  I needed to slow down.  My enthusiasm was taking over the lectures. I had to be more clear and concise.

What I also realized was how important it is to have self-awareness and to listen to one’s self.  Really listen to your words, almost before they come out of your mouth.

I realize that not everyone has the opportunity to be recorded and go through a self-evaluation process.  However, everyone can listen to themselves, think before they speak, and be aware of their surrounding environment.

No one is perfect.  If you have read my previous articles, you know I am the first to state that I am completely Impurfect!  Awareness and listening to others and yourself is a wonderful self-check tool.

Getting back to the young lady at the sink…

She continued her rant about how cheap her husband is and how she has to shake the change out of his pockets.  I’m so grateful he wasn’t in the salon to hear her vial banter. 

Once your words are out, they will float in the sky like a helium balloon in the wind. Never to return.  I suggest… Think twice, speak once. With hair, measure twice, cut once.


Suzanne Reisler Litwin an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper.   She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column “Keeping it Real”.  Please visit her website  www.suzannereislerlitwin.com  to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.


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