It happened. In fact, it happened to me today. Listening, but only listening to respond versus learn. I came into a conversation half way in, chip on my shoulder that I had all the answers, and totally took a situation sideways that helped no one.
Insert face-plant here: 🤦🏻♂️
Not the best way to motivate people at all. Fighting the urge when into a conversation or a opportunity to coach it takes incredible energy to fight that selfish “what’s in it for me” urge that makes us want to be the focal center of attention or the subject matter expert. It’s terrible. We want people to “buy in” so bad, we end up taking over to try to make that a point come to life.
One way I am learning to flip my internal urges to not be the know it all that takes over, is to avoid approaching them like they are rational arguments. Especially when anyone is coming to me stressed. I need to listen. It gives the other person a time to share how they feel and where they’re concerns are coming from. This creates a moment of trust that when it’s strong enough will give me an opportunity to share what a I think can help. If I cut that off to early, the person feels not listened to, and can be come agitated. Even worse, they might even become angry.
When you really get where people are coming from…they’re more likely to let you take them where you want them to go. – Mark Goulston
In researching listening best practices and science studies I found something really interesting. Listening relies very heavily on the rational, not the emotional part of our brains. Our rational brain is built to find reason in what in interacts with. It collects and analyzes data, then helps use develop logical next steps. Using our emotional sides of our brain for listening is not great at all because we can flip into flight or fight modes and even spark our inner drama queen response. Being aware that we have different thinking that can influence how we react to things, is a huge step towards self-awareness that can help you be present.
I’ve learned to use side-by-side approaches in my listening opportunities with others to create stronger connections. I basically ask questions during the chat session and then follow up with more questions to deepen the connection. What I want to achieve here is show genuine interest in their topics by showing I value it with questions to understand it deeper. It brings the chat deeper and deeper levels. I usually find more value in the topic when this happens then the person who brought it to me. It’s a win-win!
These examples and strategies might seem like they would never work, but listening to learn and not respond has taught me a lot. It allows me to make a shared connection between me and the other person that usually produces great ideas in a collaborative sense that benefits both.
This weekend I’m going to do a post on rage and how we can use it to our benefit. How we can harvest the massive amount of energy rage puts out and then redirect into something that’s good. Talk to you then!