Learning to listen

Communication in sunset

Today key expert at Lahmeyer, Luca Pizzimbone talks about one of his first missions for the company around the world alongside one of our senior engineers. This work experience in West Africa proved decisive for Luca on his career journey. Discover Luca’s story.

The sun was shining and the warm air was more pleasant than the dark and cold winter days I just left behind in Germany. From the window of the room I could see and listen to exotic birds. I thought that I was quite fortunate to be able to be there. I was in West Africa for a project concerning the electrical interconnection of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. It was going to be a great work experience.

The project was very interesting and complex, also because the language spoken in the two countries was not the same. With our English-speaking Ghanaian and French-speaking Côte d’Ivoire clients, the communication didn’t get any easier.

One morning over tea in the hotel lobby I asked Hans, a senior engineer with great experience nearing his seventies, for advice. His response: “Listen to everyone first, and then do what you think is right”.

Despite the simplicity of the counsel, it was only after years of direct experience that I fully understood his words: Listening is the key to good communication. I realized that only by true listening I would know the right thing to do in any occasion. I clearly saw how actions naturally flow in the right direction. And this is proportionally so to the effort we dedicate to listening to each other.

Since that insight, I took the good advice of my elder colleague to my heart. Today, I am still very grateful for his precious words.

Almost eight years after our West African mission, I finally met Hans again at Lahmeyer’s annual Christmas party. Despite the thick crowd, we both instantly recognised each other. Despite now being retired, he managed to look even smarter now in his glasses and suit.

Christmas Party at Lahmeyer in Bad Vilbel

After we greeted each other, I asked if he remembered the experience we shared and the advice he gave me all those years ago over tea. “Of course,” he remarked. I explained how I put his sage wisdom to work in dozens of Lahmeyer projects, and what a difference he had made in my career.

When I finished, Hans wiped a small tear from his eye. In that moment, I felt incredibly grateful…first to have met Hans again, and second that I work for a company that attracts such great people.

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