A Texas executive’s coach asked how employees would rate him as a listener.
“I think they would say I’m a bad listener,” the exec replied, “but if you press them, they’ll say I always get their content.”
His prediction was right. Getting your point across is different from being heard. He confused the need to answer questions with the need to respond to people. Both are necessary.
Respond to both question and intent:
- Answer both the stated and unstated question. After answering, ask if there’s an underlying process that needs to be fixed.
- Acknowledge the questioner’s feelings.
- Confirm your common goals.
- Discern your points of view.
- Check your answers: Ask if you’ve helped.
— Adapted from Leading Out Loud, Terry Pearce, Jossey-Bass.