Annette Nay, PhD

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Lecturing or Listening: Which Brings the Best Results?
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright 1999

When a person comes to another with a problem, often they listen for a few minutes and then start to give him or her advice as to how to handle the situation. Of course this has to be the correct way to handle the problem because it is the way that they would do it and it has worked for them in the past, but is it the right thing for this individual to do. The individual may not have the same tools to attack the problem as the other. This approach may not work in the setting the individual is in because it is completely different from the other persons.

Never give advice, only listen!

It may be that a listening ear was all the person wanted in the first place. Often when we wish to express our thoughts or feeling or to convince another of a different plan of action, we do so by lecturing. When someone comes to us for help with a problem we often do so through the lecture. What we do not realize is that about two minutes into the lecture we often lose our audience. This is not to say that our audience has a short attention span, but that they do not listen to the format called the lecture.

The best way to convince another of a different plan of action or to help them solve a problem is to listen and then ask thought provoking questions to help the individual find their own answer.

Never attack the person because his or her thinking is faulty. Ex: That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. In this example you have insulted the and person and their thoughts by calling him or her stupid. At this point s/he will not listen to you at all and you have devalued their self esteem making it harder, in their mind, to accomplish anything.

Instead of devaluing the individual, guide him or her to a good decision by questioning the results of their rationale. For instance: If you do this, way what would be the type of results you could expect. You may at this point remind the individual of past results of they have created or of others.

Before trying to attack a problem find out what has been done previously and what the results were. People often try to fix a problem by continuing to do the same thing or trying harder in hopes of different results. If a plan of action is not bring the needed results, then the results should be evaluated and a new plan of action planned and activated. By the same token, if something is working do not change it.

Often the problems exists because there was no planning only the desire to reach a goal. Evaluating and planning ones actions will bring better results then just plunging into the problem in hopes of finding success. Examine the plan of action with the steps below to gain a better chance at success.

  1. Choose problems to work on that will make a difference in the quality of your life.
  2. Don't waste your time on things which don't matter.
  3. Your choice of goals should be a matter of prayer.
  4. Define the problem.
  5. Often we can only see the problem from our own point of view.
  6. To make sure we truly understand the problem or situation from all angles ask others what they think the problem is.
  7. Now you know what the problem is.
  8. How would things be if they were the way you wanted them to be?
  9. Write these down. These become your primary goals.
  10. How would you know thing were the way you wanted them to be?
  11. Write these down in detail.
  12. The details become supporting secondary goals to reach your main goal.
  13. There are many solutions to a problem.
  14. Develop a list of different ways to solve the problem.
  15. Consider your values, preferences, and resources, then decide how best to reach the goal.
  16. Search for solutions to your secondary goals which you can live with.
  17. These become supporting goals which will help you reach your secondary and primary goals.
  18. Break down the supporting goals into do-able small steps.
  19. Write them down in the order they need to be accomplished.
  20. Give the starting date and a projected finish date for each step.
  21. Commit yourself to start and finish each step.
  22. List things that you can do to reward yourself when you finish each step.
  23. Consider your resources when deciding what you can afford to reward yourself.
  24. Example: Take a bubble bath, visit a friend, or go out to lunch.
  25. Vary the types of rewards you give yourself.
  26. If renting a video is your reward every time, you may become a couch potato.
  27. Write down the requirements for getting the reward.
  28. Give yourself small rewards for accomplishing small steps and larger rewards for larger steps.
  29. Rewards are not bribery but a pat on the back for setting and reaching your goals.
  30. Decide what consequences will take place if you haven't finished your goal by a certain time or if you slip up and do the unwanted behavior. Write this down in detail.
  31. Example: If I do not finish my scripture reading before dinnertime, then I give up dessert for the day.
  32. Before you begin a goal you should have written down the primary, secondary, and supportive goals along with the start and finish dates, rewards and consequences.
  33. Then ask God to help you obtain you goals.
  34. Each morning ask God for His help to do better that day.
  35. Evaluate your progress with God nightly.
  36. Ask your loved ones, friends, and Visiting Teachers to help monitor and support your progress.
  37. Picture yourself feeling and acting as if you have already reached your goal.
  38. The more vivid the picture the better chance you have or reaching your goal.
  39. Try never to set goals which involve the participation of others. These goals are seldom accomplished since you are the one that is motivated.
  40. Don't quit because things aren't working out.
  41. Some goals may need some changes to make them work better.
  42. Review the effectiveness of each step and make changes where needed.
  43. Don't make goals that are so strict they don't leave room to be able to live effectively and reach your goals too.
  44. Bad Example: I will read one chapter in my scriptures daily for a week. This should read: I will read 1 chapter in my scriptures daily or 7 chapters for the week. This example allows for sickness or other reasons that would otherwise cause failure because of the strictness of the first example.
  45. Changes you make in your life effect you and all you come in contact with.
  46. Some of those people may try to get you to remain the same, because change is uncomfortable or threatening to them.

Your change could make them look inward. Seeing things which need changing causing feeling of inadequacy and discomfort.

Being forewarned is being forearmed. This warning will aid your ability to change in spite of others wanting things to stay the same.

When you change for the good you will affect others more positively and, hopefully, help them want to change too. Remember, you can not change others; they must do this for themselves. You can only be the catalyst.


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