"The experience of being understood, versus interpreted, is so compelling you can charge admission"
Joseph Pine, author of "The Experience Economy"
What would happen in your world if you talked less and listened more? If a client, colleague or spouse voiced a problem and instead of trying to fix it or give an opinion, you asked “Say more about that”? Say more about the situation. Say more about how you feel about it. Say more about your ideal resolution.
My challenge this week is to do this. I’m going to fight my desire to share my opinion and advice, and instead let others do the talking.
To do this, I’m going to use 3 of the 7 principles of a Fierce Conversation, as tools to achieve my goal and keep me on track.
#1 Let Silence Do the Heavy Lifting
Often I mistake a pause in the conversation as a good time to insert my opinion. In my conversations this week with my colleagues, clients, spouse, friends and family, I want to leave room for silence. I often interpret no one speaking as awkward, when in reality my counterpart might just be thinking. Instead of rushing to fill the void, I’ll live in the between space and see what comes.
#2 Be Here, Prepared to be Nowhere Else
To be honest, I sometimes cut to the chase in a conversation because my mind is racing through my giant to-do list. It’s mind-boggling to think about what I’m potentially losing by not giving my full attention to the people I’m communicating with.
What didn’t my client get to tell me that would have helped me give them even better service? What did my colleague not get to verbalize in our meeting because I was running through a check list? Focus is a skill that I plan on practicing by being present.
#3 Master the Courage to Interrogate Reality
Think of the last conversation you had. At any point during the conversation, instead of asking a question about something they said, did you just make an assumption?
Sometimes we don’t focus or ask questions, because we’re afraid of what might be said. Filling in the blanks can be so common that we don’t realize were doing it. Yet when you line up all those assumptions in a row and look at the time and money lost, the cost to your business and relationships, it can really hit home. Experience tells me that this is scary because it’s worth doing!
Is this something you want to focus on? Take the challenge with me and let us know how you do!