How what you don’t see can hurt you.

My husband and I enjoy being outdoors. On weekdays we walk a loop around Crescent Beach (near Vancouver, BC) and on weekends we go a little further afield, often to the North Shore Mountains. Awhile back, we walked a trail that connects South Surrey and Tsawwassen. Once the path veers away from the highway, it becomes peaceful and pretty as it hugs the shoreline. On that particular day, we walked for about an hour and a half before we turned around.

I was struck by how different the path looked when viewed from the opposite direction. I saw the path from a different perspective. There were plants and trees I hadn’t noticed when I was pointing north. Most startling to me: I had missed seeing an entire pier that had washed up on the shore. It was badly damaged, but it was there, and I had missed it.

In our busy-ness it’s easy to focus forward, to take our fundraising message (from the case for support) and deliver it to our audience. If we look both ways before we speak, we might see a washed up pier. A distracted donor. A divorce. A move. A sick grandchild. Looking both ways means taking the time to listen and ask questions, being genuinely interested in the other and being willing and able to adjust the message on the spot.

A script and a message is there to serve you, not to be adhered to it at all cost.

Take a look at these sites for other perspectives on active listening and communication:

Mind tools: Active Listening

How to listen and be heard

Make a great case for your cause.


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