By Sergio Medina
Speaker Chad Littlefield said listening to understand, which is to use empathy as a foundation to communication, and curiosity are key in developing successful relationships and finding desirable paths in life, respectively.
Littlefield spoke to an audience of about 70 students and faculty during the student convocation Jan. 18 in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center.
Littlefield is the co-founder of We and Me, Inc., a company which mission is to “create conversations that matter,” by strengthening communication skills in work and academic spaces.
Littlefield said it is important to apply empathy in communication because it builds trust, leading to networking opportunities.
Listening to get ahead, which is focused in building a retort, is not the way to approach people, he said.
“The opposite of listening is actually waiting for your chance to talk,” he said. “When I ask, ‘how are you?’ Am I willing to accept and really get that response?”
Furthermore, Littlefield said avoiding labels is important in building relationships.
“I have never met a person who says, ‘Ah, I just love being put in a box; I love when people stereotype me and push me into this little, narrow understanding of who I am,’” Littlefield said.
Accompanying empathy, curiosity is another important foundation to communication and life, he said. It acts as the driver that enables pathways to success.
“Whatever you’re up against right now, if you’ve got the mental space for two minutes of curiosity, and you apply that each day in relation to people, there will be some magic that will come out of that,” he said.
“Some of you right now are here (in school) because you’re looking for something that works,” Littlefield said. “Following your curiosity will lead you to what you’re passionate about.
“Action is always going to precede clarity,” he added. “If you’re thinking about, ‘Ah, I’m not exactly sure what I want to do,’ do it, and you will find out very quickly.”
Littlefield closed by saying, “Speak less in sentences that end in periods and more in sentences that end with question marks.”
In an interview following the talk, paralegal studies freshman Daniel Rodriguez said Littlefield’s presentation was valuable information.
His main takeaway was “maybe not be so afraid to talk to somebody you don’t know, or somebody you don’t think you will have something in common with because you just never know,” he said.
For more information on Littlefield and his company, log on to weand.me.