By Joyce Ganthavorn - TOLA Fall 2014

Often when we listen, we make the mistake of being quick to offer advice based on our own assumptions. We tend to impose our own experiences on what we hear; making it more about ourselves rather than the person we are listening to. When we truly listen, we are able to make observations and gather more information. The reality is that we don’t know everything, and the best way to gather information isn’t by making assumptions, it’s by listening.

Listening is a powerful way to connect with others. Everyone wants to be heard. By listening, we can transform what we are learning into a plan of action that will engage and interest more people. Not only is listening important for voter contact, it also helps in making a team more efficient when working with volunteers.

Participating in TOLA made me realize that there is a time for sound and there is a time for silence.