People love to tell their story-if only we would listen.
Huell Howser, who passed away recently, hosted a public television program called "California Gold, " he had a wonderful skill of getting people to tell their story.
He would travel around California and discover some of the states unique places and people, like Emu farmers and artisans who made things out of recycled goods.
Howser was a master conversationalist who cultivated the conversational skill of 'curiosity.' This genuine 'curiosity' was displayed in all his interactions.
Curiosity is taking an active interest in another person in a non possessive way. Being genuinely curious, Huell would ask a question and then get out of the way.
In an L.A. Times expose after his death, his assistant Ryan Smith said this about his boss, Huell "always wanted to be seen as a storyteller, and never wanted the story to be about him.
The above statement reminds me of a G.K. Chesterton quote: "how much larger your life would be if your 'self' were smaller in it."
I will know that curiosity and empathy has produced fruit, if after a conversation, the other person walks away knowing more about themselves rather than me.