Move forward together.

Listening to the people you represent

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” States members of the future – please do not be those people.

Published: 16 September 2020 by Steve Falla

People’s deputies are elected and entrusted to make wise, researched, balanced decisions on behalf of the Guernsey voters who put them in the States Assembly.

I believe that trust should be rewarded by deputies making every effort to listen to the views of island residents, as well as to the debate in the Assembly before making a decision about which way to vote. In other words, not approaching an issue or going into a debate with a closed mind.

I have spent 30 years of my career in professional communication so perhaps it will be no surprise that I strongly believe in two-way communication. And that means listening at least as much as speaking.

I am a wordsmith and it pleases me that the word LISTEN is an anagram of the word SILENT.

If elected, I would like to encourage deputies in the new 2020 Assembly to invest time and energy in communicating and engaging with and listening to the people they represent so that decisions can be informed by the views of the community. This is not abdicating delegated responsibility as a people’s representative; it is ensuring that we are in tune with those people.

As I’ve been canvassing over the past few weeks it has occurred to me that the amount of effort being put into engaging with Guernsey people at election time is so disproportionate to the communication (listening) that goes on during the ensuing political term.

The coronavirus pandemic resulted in strong leadership from States members and strong communication. I would like to see more of both going forward.

When it comes to communication, I would like to be the champion for encouraging proactive engagement during the next term. I’m not naïve enough to think that thousands of Guernsey residents will tune into a Facebook Live broadcast every time there’s an issue to consider, but we need to find contemporary, relevant, effective ways of engaging with and listening to our community. It may be challenging but it’s not impossible.

I am a good listener and I have spent my career researching, analysing and evaluating. I want to make positive, informed, educated decisions that will enable the island’s people to move forward together. The States needs to work effectively with its competent communications team and to communicate loud and clear.

Public speaker Stephen Covey said: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

States members of the future – please do not be those people.