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Spotlight: The Power of a Glass of Water

Spotlight: The Power of a Glass of Water


A recent article posted on LinkedIn by author, Subir Chowdhury, inspired this post.

Subir provides multiple examples of situations where listening to others while being purposeful and thoughtful makes all the difference in the outcome.  Not only for the other person, but for us, the listener, as well.  These situations ranged from a child in the slums of India rummaging for something to eat to a surgeon and his communications with a husband who was waiting for a report on a wife undergoing a long procedure.

One example was of a man asking for a simple glass of water on a plane…and being denied it.


The elderly man was in the first row of coach just behind the first class cabin.  As such, he was not “eligible” for a pre-flight beverage.  Despite repeated desperate requests to the flight attendant, he was denied a simple glass of water.  It was against the rules.  There was a growing number of first class passengers who were uncomfortable with the demeanor and responses that the attendant gave to the elder passenger, but only one took action.  One young man stood up and brought the man a glass of water.  He broke the rules…although they weren’t his rules as he was not an employee.

Photo Credit: cristianl / Getty Images

We have all been very thirsty and know what that feels like, but failure to empathize with this basic and necessary physical need had a negative impact on more than just the thirsty man and the attendant.

Meanwhile, one man’s decision to act had a positive impact on the same people.  Perhaps all but the attendant who may or may not do the same in a future exchange.


Subir concludes the post…

At the end of the day, our ability to truly listen to others is in our hands. We can all improve our ability to listen.

Listening to others purposefully involves not just hearing what they have to say, but trying to put yourself in their shoes. It involves empathy and understanding. Simply imagining that you understand what the other person is trying to say, without attempting to fully grasp why the other person is telling you what they are saying, does not demonstrate good listening skills.

For more information on his new book, The Difference, When Good Enough Isn’t Enough, go HERE.

We wanted to share this as a helpful reminder and hope that it is useful to you.


We would love to hear from you and respond purposefully!  What do you think of this post and what other topics would you like us to post about?  Let us know in the comments below.

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