60 Seconds: Penguins for What Did They Say? What Did I Hear?

–How might penguins help us listen better? Listen here.

Coming to you from Whidbey Island, Washington this is 60 Seconds, your daily dose of hope, imagination, wisdom, stories, practical tips, and general riffing on this and that.

A man drives into a filling station and asks the attendant to fill the tank with gas. The attendant sees 3 penguins standing on the back seat of the car and tells the man, “Hey! You should take those penguins to the zoo.” The man says, “Good idea!” And drives away.

About a week later the same man returns to the filling station and asks the attendant to fill the tank. The attendant sees the same 3 penguins but now they’re wearing sunhats, sunglasses, and beach sandals. He says, “Hey I thought I told you to take those penguins to the zoo!”  “I did, replied the man, and we had such a good time today we’re going to the beach!”

Practical Tip: When in conversation with someone ask yourself:

  • What did they say?
  • What did I hear?
  • Was it the same, or different?


Diane F. Wyzga
Diane F. Wyzga
"DIANE IS A KEEN STORYTELLING PROBLEM SOLVER BECAUSE SHE LISTENS DEEPLY, QUESTIONS WITH EMPATHY, AND BELIEVES THAT THE CLIENT HAS THE ANSWERS TO THEIR COMMUNICATION CHALLENGES. TRUST DIANE TO FIND THE STORY, LISTEN IT OUT OF YOU, AND GUIDE YOU TO A BETTER STORY." ... MANY OF US tell our stories from the perspective of what we do, the tasks we complete, and the great things we deliver. However, we forget that we are human beings with stories to tell to connect with other human beings and their stories. Our stories and the power of our human voice attract us to each other and attract our clients and audiences. FOR 30 YEARS I’ve helped professionals take their story from a message only they could hear to the publishing world, the courtroom, hospitals, board meetings, the airwaves, and more. Stories that swayed juries. Built markets. Spread ideas. Changed things. TODAY I HELP others become successful story influencers. It’s a niche the world needs: helping socially conscious professionals and organizations succeed by discovering and delivering their authentic story messages to connect with, engage, and influence their audience. HOW DID I EARN THE RIGHT TO CARRY THE STORY MEDICINE? I know struggles. I offer solutions. Over the years as an incest survivor, a professional woman in male-dominated professions, growing up with generational myths about the role of women, I lost my voice, had it taken from me, felt it compressed and constrained. I silenced myself only to learn that language is power when it is brought to light and life. When we discover our one true authentic voice, we shape our personal or professional story, mission, or vision so we are seen, heard, understood, and listened to. When we tell our story to advance our business, create clarity in life choices, give life to our ideas, we connect, engage, and influence our audience with our courage, confidence, conviction, and creativity. WHETHER YOU ARE READY to work with me as your trusted story guide or getting ready to be ready, I am ready to support you at Quarter Moon Story Arts. MEANWHILE, FEEL WELCOME feel welcome to subscribe to my monthly Engaged Storyism© Network NewsAudioLetter and listen to my global podcast episodes on Stories From Women Who Walk.

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  1. Diane — First of all, I loved your post. What a great message. As a coach, I was taught to listen to my client and then come back with “What I hear you saying is….” ESSENTIALISM author Greg McKeown is a master at this technique on his podcast where he often does on air coaching.

    Next, your profile…. All in one lifetime? My inner critic poked me as I read it and said “What a loser you are compared to her!” I sent it to stand in the corner.

    Finally, Mac’s session with us on Synopsis 360 is on a Tuesday, so you must join us! Our upcoming session is on May 4th, a Tuesday, from 12-1 EST. Laura Staley will be leading it. Let me know if you want additional details. Would love to have your voice there.

    • Hello, Jeff!
      I’m still figuring out all the avenues & back alleys here.

      Thank you for the Atta Girl! on the Penguin post. You and I are Simpatico in the mirroring; it’s what I was taught as a young nurse.
      I’ll check out Greg McKeown – there is always so much to learn.

      LOL! on the profile – that’s just the stuff I was allowed to print. Funny thing isn’t it: that Comparison Gremlin we have going on. I remember a talk given years ago by a story mentor of mine. A very accomplished and wonderful teller and human being. He was recounting for us a time at a story conference when he was in a workshop room adjoining that of another accomplished and wonderful teller. There was all sorts of laughter coming from that adjoining room; but because the topic in my mentor’s room was a little more serious there was no laughter. And he was wondering what was wrong with him. I tell ya’ this will follow us and all we can do is say, Thank you for sharing. Go stand in the corner

      In re: Synopsis 360, thank you for the correction – I was looking at May.
      Mac Bogert is Tuesday 1st June 0900 PDT!
      And, now there is an earlier one on 4th May at 0900 PDT with Laura Staley.

      Both mornings are open right now

      A little help please on how to register for both ~ Diane

  2. Hey, Mac ~

    Yes, that is an old chestnut! It still makes me laugh. I think I take after my mom’s dad who loved Red Skelton & like him always laughed when he told a joke.

    Thank you for the invite to the Symposium – I’ll give it a go; I try to keep the weekends in a Device Free Zone. Maybe there will be a recording?

    Meanwhile I’ll check the blog in advance of a chat.

    Every good and kind wish ~ Diane

  3. Thanks, Diane.
    One of my favorite stories, and it’s been too long since I remembered it.
    We all do have different dictionaries – when we listen, we are, in fact, translating.
    Please come and visit on June 1 at the Synopsis 360 dialogue (12-1 EDT). The topic is “Beyond Knowledge” and includes this blog, which ties in great with your post.
    It would be a pleasure to talk some time . . .