Tip of the Week
Insurance Against Mediocrity
Powerful Listening - What to listen for
What is it: Beyond being polite, powerful listening includes
understanding what's said, what's meant by what's said, and the meaning of it all to the speaker.
Why it’s Important: When fully heard and understood, people shift
from defensiveness to engagement. Full engagement is required for your influence to count.
The Problem: People
don’t articulate well for 2 reasons:
Lack of awareness about how they feel, what they want, or
what’s really important.
Lack of language skills
Vocabulary = Language
In the absence of understanding, anger,
frustration, blame, resentment, martyrdom, etc. block your influence.
The Tip: Listening “to” vs. Listening “for”
Select the easiest person with whom you
communicate, i.e., the most supportive customer, your closest friend, a teacher you
love. You can also select an easy conversation topic, i.e., the
weather, weekend plans, the dinner menu, etc. Intentionally listen with focused attention beyond just hearing
the words spoken. Feel concerns and reactions in both you and the
speaker. Outwardly, ask for clarification or elaboration from the
speaker, and inwardly ask the same of yourself.
Example: What’s for dinner
5 things to listen for
1. What wasn’t said Did she mention enjoyment?
2. Things lacking (unmet needs) Did she mention busy schedule, sacrifice,
3. Obstacles blocking the speaker Did she mention lack of skill or
4. Assumptions Did she mention doubts about ability, quality?
5. Signs from the speaker that he/she understands you, too Did she repeat anything
you said or use your words?
The Benefit: You
will understand the speaker as a whole person which makes understanding what’s said effortless.
The speaker feels your understanding and connection and then has the space to
tell you more and to listen to you in return because your words will now be directly relevant to the speaker,
as a whole person. As I always say, you can’t influence a person who
isn’t listening to you.
Respect for the speaker as a person first, and then as a
person with something to say.
Commonality in the basic struggles and joys in life
Trust that you will care for the speaker's feelings since
you've taken time to actually understand them now
Reciprocity that naturally creates an interest in you, as a
whole person, too
Related Article: Communication Part 1 - Top 10
Related Tip: Trust, Make Sense