BOSSES, SPOUSES, AND SALESPEOPLE . . .

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Be kinder than necessary

                                             

because everyone

                                                 

you meet is fighting

                                

some kind of battle!

     I know, I know, I promised more today on listening skills.  Well the number one rule of listening for many people and many professions is to use empathy, and that’s what this heading is all about. 

     Empathy is mentally putting yourself in another person’s shoes.  It is a step up from sympathy, or feeling sorry for someone, because empathy implies active involvement.

Of course there’s more, a lot more, to active listening skills than being empathetic, but I relate strongly to the message of the heading, so I’m leaving it there while I take you down another listening skill path: paraphrasing!

“If I understand you correctly, you are saying that . . .” or “What I think I hear you saying is . . .” or “Do I understand you to mean . . .? are three excellent lead-ins to use when paraphrasing (putting your “take” on a statement into your own words) something someone else has just said.  Why would you do this?  To make SURE that you got the opinion or information or directions right!

This paraphrasing device, by the way, when it’s delivered in a persistently unemotional, understanding tone of voice, has great value in defusing moments of conflict.  It forces a person who’s just tossed out an emotional barrage of complaints to hear how their words have come across to someone else in a non-threatening and non-confrontative way.

  Paraphrasing serves to slow down the rush of upset, and often prompts the other person to reconsider or at least to better explain the issues.  It sets a stage for the upset person to talk more, and often to be more careful and reasoned.

   We’ve all heard that (especially in sales, customer service, counseling, consulting, and marriage ) we need to try to speak 20% of the time and listen 80% of the time.

This may be a challenging prescription, but speaking and listening are behaviors.  We choose our behaviors.  We also choose to be challenged or we can choose to be accepting.

Water flows best downhill.  Choose the easy route.  Just tell yourself to “Listen up!” [Taking notes ALWAYS helps, and flatters as well.  “Would you please speak a little slower (or repeat that) so I can jot it down; I want to make sure I get it right!” works wonders in terms of ensuring full understanding and in boosting the other person’s ego.]

On the flip side, ask someone who’s just unloaded a barrage of concerns to help you sort them out by writing them down, one at a time, and assigning a #1 for most important and #2 for next most important, etc. to each item — and then proceed to address (chew and digest) each issue separately and exclusively, beginning with #1.

Odds are pretty good you’ll never get past the first two or three items on the list before the complainant withdraws the remaining ones or backs off the initial sense of fury, or both.  Either way, you have nothing to lose by trying, except miscommunications and upsets.

# # #

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Hal@Businessworks.US or 931.854.0474

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

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