It’s Not About You

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By The Late Ron Bartlette

Really, said the tongue to the ear. Two ears, huh, said the tongue. Alone, I put down people or raise them up. I can make songs, poems and stories sound like brittle sand paper or as smooth as a baby’s bottom. The tongue loved its power and delighted in how people always turned as it had the verbal floor.

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It has been said, we have two ears and one mouth so we can spend more time listening than talking. Relationship gurus convincingly point out how people who listen more than talk in a relationship fair far better than those who believe it’s all about them and their words.
Maybe an example from a different environment can paint a vivid picture. Let’s move into the realm of a workshop / classroom. We’ve all been there. The instructor enters and walks to the front of the room. From that point on it’s a mixture of PowerPoint and lecture. More on the lecture than not.


How long before the listeners are on their cell phones texting, or participants are talking in hushed voices to one another. Worse yet, they’re giving the approving nod to the instructor as if their agreeing with them, meanwhile their nodding is simply to keep themselves awake or at least keep their head from hitting the table as they go down for a nap. This is what happens when the brain disengages from a lack of stimulation or engagement.

Let’s try another picture. The facilitator was already in the room before people enter and greets each one in a friendly, smiling manner. Then opens up with a True and False PowerPoint on the topic and asks the participants to partner up and discuss what they both think. Finally, one person in a pair is asked for their thoughts including why they think it’s true or false. Trust me the level of engagement for all is heighten and people feel they are part of the conversation. They realize it’s not all about the facilitator.

Even when you know a lot it’s best not to make that known. Give others a chance to speak and own the floor. Remember you have two ears and only one mouth, don’t wear one out to the detriment of the other. Famous words, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger”.

Picture of The Late Ron Barlette

The Late Ron Barlette


This year marks the third anniversary of the passing of Ron Bartlette, Executive Director and Founder of the Winnipeg Transition Centre.

Ron was humbled by the opportunities he was given to lead the organization, working with so many passionate, gifted staff and touching the lives of numerous participants.

His legacy and vision continues on through the various programs and services of the Winnipeg Transition Centre, where thousands in Manitoba and across Canada have received support and training and who in turn, will provide inspiration in their communities.

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