Are you really listening?
As I travelled the last few days I was reading a book about negotiation. I came across the following statement:
If you agree, then negotiation is the art of listening, to uncover the information you need. One of my goals for this year is to improve my listening. I realized several years ago that I viewedmany conversations as a war to be won and I have worked to change my position. Often whilst listening I was already formulating my response, preparing to speak before I heard everything said. This often led to interruptions. It is hard work to listen, to just listen without thinking but trying to hear what is really being said. It can damage negotiations as well as relatinships.
Encourage the person to speak more, rather than to say your piece, so you understand what they really mean. If we work to listen, allowing the person to explain their position fully we may avoid arguements, misunderstandings and create stronger friendships as well. One of the things so many people complain about is not being heard.
If we make our all encompassing focus the other person and what they have to say they will feel heard and understood. It may require speaking back what they said and asking if that is right, then letting them explain further. It may require asking questions to elicit more information. It will require laying aside your ego and focusing on another person more than yourself.
How many deals fall apart because the parties do not understand what the other side really wants or perceives them as one thing, greedy maybe, because they do not understand where they are coming from due to lack of information because one party of the other failed to listen and hear what was being said by the other.
- Are you really listening?
- Are you gathering information or doing all the talking?
- Are you trying to dominate the conversation, to win the battle?
I have been putting these techniques into practice and am seeing great results. I realize I still have lots of room for improvement but I would encourage you to give it a try.