“There are a lot of people that just want to be heard.”

In the Hub and in the hospital, we find ourselves in positions where individuals are sharing their experiences with us, whether they are moments in life, their symptoms, their ideas, or just their time. We are often asking questions in search of a specific answer, and there commonly is more than the simple answer we are looking for.  When Doug Solomon visited the Hub a couple of weeks ago, he gave an example where a secretary would facilitate conference calls between individuals by physically using two phones and holding the two receivers together.  It was one example where a simple question asking “do you know how to make conference calls?” would receive a “yes” answer, but the follow up question of “can you show us?” gave a more revealing answer.

In my final year of undergrad I was able to work with an incredibly inspiring person who would always know when to ask the right question—one that would probe me to explain my opinion further, that would make me reflect, and that would make me feel heard.  What is Human Centered Design if not first and foremost about making people feel heard?  About helping them share whatever they care about?  About making that small, innocuous thing the building block for a solution?

In our daily lives, there are moments in conversation when we get excited, when we get overly engaged, when we wear our passions on our sleeve, but almost equally as wonderful as experiencing one of these moments is witnessing someone that is in that moment.  It can be some of the few times that we truly ignore some of the norms, the structures, the silos, and the barriers of which we are so often overly sensitive towards.  So, next time you find yourself in a situation that is about to tip into a “don’t get me started conversation”, try diving in.  If you find yourself wanting to share and need an ear, come on down to the Hub.  Coming up with an idea is only half the battle; being heard is the other half.  There are a lot of people who just want to be heard, and they just need someone to listen.