(Prologue: I’ve got first-hand experience that a real understanding of the laws of karma can substantially change our lives for the better. I created this weblog to share information and personal experience with others. May it be of benefit!)
With the publication of his book My Remarkable Journey, Larry King loosens his suspenders and dips his toe in his own karmic stream.
During his book tour, I heard Jian Ghomeshi interviewing him on May 26, 2009 on CBC Radio One
Among other things, Larry said that throughout most of his life he hasn’t engaged in “introspective thinking” because he “lives in the moment.” (I myself don’t think of the two as being mutually exclusive.) Larry never asked himself “why?” or checked the connection between cause and effect in his own life – i.e. he didn’t interview himself! He didn’t explore his own karma.
Larry’s famous suspenders kept him together — kept his manufactured self (ego) in place —until now. The man whom many consider the king of all interviewers is finally interviewing himself.
When I suggested to people that Larry’s success is a result of his attitude — he focuses on the other person;it’s not about “me”; “I am not relevant; only the interviewee is important.” — I got some comments. Here are three of them:
Larry King? Spare me.Its all show business.
It’s probably a good idea to be a little cautious about idealizing public figures as special in some Dharmic way. As far as LK goes, I suspect he is, among other things, a self promoter with little allegiance to the truth.
Larry King is hardly an example of others-before-self. The interview technique is extremely common. It’s part of the job, really. Any interviewer who is a lousy listener and interrupts to trumpet himself won’t be employed for long. He certainly was good at promoting his show and himself. And anyway, he is obviously going to stress his supposed modesty – kind of a contradiction in terms. I have nothing against him, incidentally. I just don’t think he’s any kind of exemplar…
Notwithstanding these opinions, to me, putting others before self helps to cut through our default (ego; self-centred) position and therefore changes the interviewer’s karmic stream altogether.
Larry’s view of interviewing represents what I call “The Shambhala Buddhist principles of good interviewing” —or how to be a good listener. I have no source for the following guidelines, but here they are.
- Stop talking — you can’t listen while you are talking.
- Make it your business to find out what the other person is saying, meaning, feeling. Don’t feign interest, but make understanding your goal in the conversation. Your job is not to discover how likeable the person is, whether he or she is right or wrong, but to understand them.
- Ask questions that promote understanding; those that ask for clarification, specificity; …who? when” what” where? how? questions.
- Avoid questions that will embarrass someone (“How could you possibly….?) “Why?” or “How come?”
- Listen to the answers given —give the person time to say what they have to say, without interruption. Concentrate on what the person is saying, not on what you’re saying to yourself about them or what you’re going to say.
- Look at the other person.
- Provide some ongoing, appropriate feedback while listening…a nod, a smile, an acknowledging sound —but don’t overdo it.
- Check out your understanding by repeating back the main points as you’ve heard them. “This is what I’ve understood you to mean. Am I accurate?” Avoid acting on assumptions without checking out their validity.
- Listen for what’s missing …what information, emotion has been avoided or left out? “So that’s the situation. How do you feel about it?”
- Be aware of your impact on the other person. Notice if you antagonize, or intimidate in any number of ways; arguing, criticizing, taking notes, not taking notes.
- Each person is unique —sometimes we take short cuts to understanding another person, by classifying him as one type and predicting how they will respond, behave, feel about something.
- Each person is unique —sometimes we take short cuts to understanding another person, by classifhing them as one type and prdicting how they will respond, behave, feel about something.
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