Balance goal No. 5: Listening/talking balance


October 13, 2017

Author’s Note: This column concludes my “Balance Quartet”— March: Overall life balance; May: Exercising/eating balance; July: Family/work time balance; and September: Listening/talking balance.

We have two ears and just one mouth for a reason. I need to raise my “rabbit ears” and listen better. I also need to talk (and bark and bite) less.
Photo: ©

Growing up with nine siblings, trying to get “mic time” at the kitchen table was a bit like “The Hunger Games.” Sometimes, taking out another kid — interrupting a speaking sibling — seemed the only way to stay in the game.

I’ve since learned that interrupting others is a game ender, not a game saver. When we interrupt others, we vocally dismiss them. We’re essentially telling them that what they are sharing is not as important, nor as interesting, as the “gems” we feel absolutely compelled to immediately impart.

I recently watched our oldest son, Mickey, interrupt his lifelong bud, Mike. A witty man, Mike quickly jabbed back with this humorous maxim: “Oh, I’m sorry … Did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?”

Here are the three listening/talking commandments I’m working on following:

  • Thou shalt not interrupt.
  • Thou shalt live as if our “Listen & Learn” minutes are 2x our “Talk Time” minutes.
  • Thou shalt be “all in” — ears, eyes, mind and heart at full attention — when listening.

Achieving listening/talking balance with family, friends, co-workers and clients is a matter of progress, not perfection. Only through daily practice shall we tame our tongues and tune in our rabbit ears.

To kick off my listening better crusade, I want to close this column with five questions formulated to help you co-engineer some of the topics we tackle in 2018. Please email your answers to any or all of the questions in the box at right to, with the subject line: “PMP listens.”

5 Questions

Please email your answers to any or all of these questions to, with the subject line: “PMP listens.”

  1. If you could assign one groundbreaking Pest Management Professional cover story, what topic would it cover?
  2. What controversial pest management topic would you most like to see the Scherzinger brothers square off on in a Face Off column?
  3. How can we better serve you with our monthly print magazine (content and design)?
  4. How can we better serve you with our digital offerings (website, e-newsletters, webinars, social media)?
  5. How can we help you better serve your co-workers and customers?

You can reach Whitford at or 216-706-3766.


About the Author

Marty Whitford

Marty Whitford is North Coast Media’s VP of Content and Publisher of PMP and GPS World. He can be reached at or 216-706-3766.

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