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A Tip For Getting Birds and Humans To Listen, Duck-Dammit

Duck is being listened to by Goose Luce and Swan Juan. All three are stuffed animals.
Duck (right) being listened to by Goose Luce and Swan Juan


So, there's a ducking pondemic [that's 'pandemic' for humans—Star], which is why yours truly, the humble pond manager, created a schedule to support social distancing. This meant that every bird had just one hour on the pond each day.

Simple, right? But no one was ducking listening! Geese were calling me up at all hours, saying, "It isn't my scheduled time, but can I just go along for a ten-minute dip?" Swans were saying, "Can I run my badminton club for ducklings at seven tonight, without any face masks whatsoever?" Ducks were telling me, "My butt's too dry! I need extra pond time." And I was losing my fluff, because no one would ducking listen when I said, "No exceptions, beak-brain! Not one!"

Then I found this ducking awesome Fast Company article by Katie Sanders, in which she shares an interview with Stephine Poston, CEO and founder of Poston & Associates, LLC. Here's a paragraph that really helped:

"When you’re frustrated, use a pause as an opportunity to remind yourself what will actually be most helpful. 'You don’t want to be the person who goes from zero to 100 over something really small,' says Poston. 'Wouldn’t you rather hear out and accommodate a colleague who is calm, collected, and thoughtful than someone who’s impulsive and unaware?' Wait until you’ve reconnected with what you want to communicate before breaking that silence."

Poston helped me to see that I was indeed all-quack-and-no-pause. So, instead of getting angry at every question, this duck starting using a few moments of silence to take a breath, smooth my own feathers, paddle my flippers, then more calmly repeat the reasons for keeping to the pond schedule. If anyone argued, I'd take another deep breath, then repeat myself again.

I also stopped calling other birds beak-brains. That had a surprisingly positive effect.

Thank you to Katie Sanders and Stephine Poston for bringing this advice to yours truly. Check out the full article here—it contains other ducking awesome tips.

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Over and out,

Duck T.


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