Maybe it’s a chick thing. We like to toss an idea into the air and see how it bounces. Without knowing it, we’re constantly reaching for a repeat of that rare experience of being pleasantly surprised by someone’s helpful perspective.
Of course, it’s only fun if we get positive feedback: “Well done, You! … Brilliant!” That is much preferred over that shrill reverb! Cover your ears! Ouch! Such an unfortunate consequence of speaking one’s mind. When we use a sounding board, we’re not really looking for feedback at all. An actual sounding board is a structure (a parabolic reflector) placed above or behind a pulpit to project the speaker’s voice. It’s there to help outflow. Congregational response is optional. [But Strongly Recommended!]
I have a few good sounding boards for my outflow (they’re still looking for the Off switch, hehe). These dear ones know I don’t want flattery, but the real scoop (or a shovel, if need be). I prefer face-to-face, usually avoiding the telephone. E-mail’s fine too–or this blog, for that matter. But since becoming a caregiver, I’ve missed my “parabolic reflectors”, and have had to work at preventing burn-out. I will actually talk on the phone these days—whatever it takes.
Maybe it’s not a chick thing, as much as an innate need to be heard. Try bouncing your latest plan off the head of a senile woman or a Labrador. It will bounce back all right, all over the walls and ceiling!
The only thing I do not want, when speaking into the atmosphere, is for my listener to internalize the thing. Whatever I’m blathering about does not need to be further complicated by making it all about them. That’s a surefire way to lose sounding board privileges. (Well, there you go! I guess I do have an Off switch!)