I am in the research and gathering information process for several home projects. There are some things I wish I could do – take up the carpet in the living room and bedroom and replace it with hardwoods that would match the wood that is already in parts of the downstairs – and things I will likely do, such as get the kitchen cabinets painted and, realistically, simply replace the worn carpet.

I have had a bevy of people looking to see if they can provide what I want. One of the handymen who looked at the floors came late to the appointment and said he could do things I have since found out aren’t feasible. Another told me exactly what would work, talked me all the way through it, and is going to have an estimate to me tonight. Another company suggested we simply replace the carpet, and told me why. And the last company spoke clearly about what we could do, and read my mind about the color and weight I am looking for with carpet. Two painting companies looked at the cabinets. One of them showed me samples of completed work and explained how it is done. The other simply directed me to their website and gave me a price.

I have been both a customer and an observer, paying attention to who really “got” what I wanted, even if it wasn’t feasible. Even though carpet isn’t my first choice, I’m considering the second company’s plan because of how that man was being with me, how he spoke to my listening.

I already know who I will use for the cabinets–the one with the sample work and the complete explanation. I trusted the people who heard me, who addressed my listening, who were being in a way that matched up with my expressed (or unexpressed) expectations.

What matters is connection and speaking that can be heard. While I have practice in this as a consultant, my recent experience as a customer doubly reinforces my intention to always listen deeply and thoughtfully.

By the way, I thanked the carpet guy, in particular, for his calm, thorough manner and letting me decide without trying to persuade me. He seemed surprised and said, “Oh, well thank you.” He didn’t ask me to tell his boss or fill out a survey. I would have been glad to do either one.