When it comes to listening, there is nothing better than a soundboard. Bing’s definition is “a board to increase resonance: a thin sheet of wood placed under or above the strings of a musical instrument to increase resonance. On a violin it is the top of the instrument” I love that definition. I’m also intrigued by the list of synonyms Bing offers: friend, soul mate, alter ego, sister, brother, amigo, intimate, best friend.
A listener can be a sponge, a marble slab, a baseball bat, or a sound board. I had to smile when I saw the synonyms because they were not at all what I expected, but they do make perfect sense if you are or have a sound board in your life.
A sponge takes everything in and gives no feedback. They are heavy-laden as they leave because they absorbed it all, but they offer nothing in return. I’m left as empty as they are full, and that isn’t a good feeling for either of us. It is the most unhealthy type of listening.
A marble slab is beautiful but isn’t absorbing a thing. A set smile or a look of concern gives an impression of sincerity where there is none. It’s more about let’s get this over with so I can move on. The experience leaves me empty and them completely unaffected. There is no real interaction, so I’m left feeling worse than before.
A baseball bat immediately takes a swing at the information. Whack! They know exactly how I feel because they’ve been there and done that. In fact, it was much worse for them. They know exactly what I should do, offer a simple solution, and walk off feeling as though they just hit a home run! I’m left wondering what just happened as they strut off the field.
A sound board, according to Bing, creates “amplification of a sound, e.g. that of an instrument or the human voice, caused by sympathetic vibration in a chamber such as an auditorium or a singer’s chest.” That sounds a lot like love to me:) If you are or ever have been a sound board, you know that love is the sympathetic vibration in the heart that makes listening a truly powerful connection.
Being a sound board is not as easy as being that slab of marble or as fun as whacking that ball out of the park, but it is the most beautiful feeling in the world when someone hears my heart and understands it. It’s just as good when I do the same for them. It is rare to find a sound board in this world because it takes time and means connecting at a deep level. Several years ago, a dear friend told me I was a wonderful sound board. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I could tell by the tone that it was a good thing. I know now just what it means and consider it the best compliment ever:)