About a month ago, I heard an NPR story on the show, “All Things Considered.” The host, Renee Montagne, was talking with Lawrence Weschler, a writer who covered Poland in the 1980s and 90s for The New Yorker. He was commenting on the recent death of Polish poetess, Wislawa Szymborska, a Nobel Laureate for Literature.
I must admit, I had not previously heard of Ms. Szymborska. That said, when I listened to excerpts from her work, I wished that I had. I encourage you to learn more about her, too. However, the point of this post is not about her work, it is about the way that Mr. Weschler described her – I found it so poignant and beautiful that it continues to ring in my ears.
He said, “[Szymborska] was deeply profound but she carried her gravity lightly. She was extremely clear. She was very, very modest.” Lovely. To be thought of as “deeply profound,” yet with the ability to manage the weight of it so effortlessly – to be able to share information with others in a way that does not bash them over the head with a sledgehammer, but, rather, provides them with useful, meaningful data, in a clear and inviting way. What a wonderful characteristic to possess.
We are each endless wells of information. The trick is to be able to quickly parse through our personal databanks in order to come up with the right detail at the right time – plus, we need to be able to convey that detail to others in a way that is understandable and actionable. When we engage with others, we must meet them where they are, we must invite them into our worlds, we must be able to share information with them openly and in a palatable manner in order to develop valuable, effective relationships.
On what topics are you “deeply profound?” Are you the expert on or have a strong opinion of a particular issue? Do you express yourself in a way that is embraced by others? What data can you share that will serve a valuable and meaningful purpose to your contacts? It seems the best way to address these questions is to first listen, then to articulate based on the challenges your contacts face. In so doing, you will establish trust and come to be known as a fount of information and valuable resource for others.