Thursday, January 16, 2020

Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours. . . . .

Writes Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friend and Influence People

A very wise coach gave me this practice to work on in 2020:

Any time I feel the urge to advise or solve, ask someone to teach me something instead.
I suspect this was aimed at "mansplainers",
but I admit to doing this too.....How often are
YOUR questions aimed at validating
your own brilliant assumptions about
something or someone?

The first thing I noticed was that I typically ask inquiry questions that are closed (yes/no answer) and I then immediately follow this question by an educated guess of my own, here's an example:

"Did you enjoy your road trip to Utah over new years?  I imagine it must have been very cold, but a nice chance to get away and spend time with your family?"  -Why not just stop after the first question and let the person tell you how their trip was?

What kind of question is that anyways?  Am I trying to guess?  Am I attempting to read the person's mind?  Is this about controlling the conversation or making it more efficient somehow by pre-answering for them?

I haven't been able to make this shift on a regular basis, but I'm building awareness of this habit that I want to change.

I recall a favorite expression about habits, "practice doesn't make perfect, but it does make new habits.

What are you working on in 2020 to improve communication and listening?

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