Continuing with our last post with tips from Dr. Mark Goulston’s book, “Just Listen,” here are six more:
Create a Transformational Moment—Much of our daily communication involves negotiation, such as who will handle what aspects of a work project, who will pick up the kids or handle dinner. To take your communication to a deeper level and hear what people are truly about, ask them a transformational question. Examples might be: What kind of influence did your father have on you? What do you love about your profession? What is something fun or important you and I should do in the next five years?
Be More Interested Than Interesting—Instead of being concerned about sounding intelligent or funny, focus all your attention on the person in front of you. Ask probing questions. Don’t tell your stories. Be interested in them. For example, ask your spouse about a recent work project or how a conflict with a friend was resolved. Then just listen. You can usually have a greater impact on someone by asking a thoughtful question and giving them the opportunity to share than by telling a great story.
Make People Feel Valued—After people feel heard, they want to feel valued, especially by their loved ones. Many spouses feel they are tolerated more than loved as the years go by. Tell your spouse how they have changed your life for the better. Tell your children how much you value them in your life.
Fill in the Blank—When you are unsure of someone’s motives or feelings, ask, “You feel that way because _______” or “You would like me to do _______.” (Say nothing with hand gesture palm up giving them the opportunity to answer.)
Power Thank You—Acknowledge a specific action that was helpful to you; note the great effort required. Tell the person (publicly if possible) what a difference this action made for you. A written letter or email is valuable to people, but a spoken power thank-you is nice.
Power Apology—A bad apology is probably worse than not apologizing at all. The proper steps include expressing remorse for the specific behavior, showing restitution, rehabilitation (not doing the bad thing any longer) and a request for forgiveness.
Do you use any of these techniques, or do you know a great listener whose listening skills you admire?
(In case you were wondering, I received no compensation of any kind for recommending this book.)