Excited to practice my new communication skills (see my recent post about the FRANK Communication Workshop I attended), I picked up the phone to dial my 4:30 consultation about some rabbits. The client lived far away and had questions regarding her “herd” of about 100 rabbits (started as a 4-H project). The staff had warned me this would be a challenging conversation.
An hour later, I sighed as I hung up the phone, having barely used ANY of my newly honed skills. In fact, I barely got a word in edgewise.
Luckily, we pre-arranged payment by credit card at a rate of $25 per 15 minutes, because apparently it was not possible to spend less than 20 minutes on the phone with her. And she had a LOT of questions.
Wisely, I opened a blank Word document to take notes during our call. Trying to keep up with what could most aptly be described as “verbal diarrhea” was nearly impossible. I thought my notes would be helpful for practicing my reflective listening–ha! I could have set the phone down, walked away for 5-10 minutes, come back, and she still would have been talking. I literally had to interrupt numerous times to clarify important details or make what I hoped was a useful contribution to the discussion. I’m pretty sure I never asked an open-ended question and lord knows I never had a chance to pause!!
To my pleasant surprise, I could hear her trying to wrap things up as the clock ticked closer to 60 minutes. I asked if the conversation had been helpful for her, and she said yes.
In fact, she will try to bring a couple of her rabbits to come see me some time. I wonder what that will be like?