I recently spoke to a group of entrepreneurs on how to get people to like you, trust you, and generate new business.
Everyone had to share the experience(s) that had most impacted their lives. The directive, however, was that while stories were being shared, the listeners were not allowed to relate the story back to themselves; they had to simply listen, and then ask qualifying questions such as, “In what way?” “Tell me more?” and “How did that feel?”
The aim of the exercise was to remind ourselves of the often overlooked power of just listening to another person, without trying to one-up them. It’s a fascinating exercise when one starts to reflect on how frequently we interrupt each other, and how often we forget to simply give the person we are conversing with THEIR moment, without bringing the focus back to ourselves.
On this very subject, I highly recommend the book Just Listen, by Dr. Mark Goulston. In it, he shares his trusted set of communication techniques and the keys to their effectiveness. He explains methods that succeed because they create traction, rather than resistance. That is, as Dr. Goulston simply puts it, they pull people toward you, even if those people are trying to pull away.
Packed with memorable anecdotes, usable insights, and specific action steps, Just Listen is a welcome guide not only for anyone who’s struggling to get through to someone, but for everyone whose career, health, and happiness depend on getting along with others.