- Listen to others first.
- Put yourself in the other’s shoes.
- Seek to understand. Ask questions.
- Clarify before answering.
Let me elaborate:
HOW TO SEE LIFE FROM THE OTHER SIDE
I saw a great quote the other day. It said, “Just because you are right does not mean I am wrong. You just haven’t seen life from my side.” This concept is very applicable in communication between partners.
Even though most of us may not realize what we are doing, we often go into a mode of trying to defend ourselves and prove who is right in a conversation.
Time and again (and in my own personal life!) I have seen that trying to prove you are right will usually get you nowhere. So, how should we be communicating instead?
As the quote said, we haven’t seen life from the other side. This means we must take the other person’s perspective and try to broaden our view of the situation and how our prospect or business partner is feeling.
Here are a few tips on how to engage in perspective-taking in your communication.
- Listen. Instead of jumping to defending yourself, let your guard down and really listen to your partner.
What to Listen to :
Problems are ten times more interesting than our wonderful solutions. People care about themselves. They don’t have much time to care about us and our solutions. So when we concentrate on their problems, we are the most interesting people in the world.
What does that mean for us?
Instead of showing our brochures, videos, compensation plan, etc., we can be more effective by talking to them about their problems. Then, get a commitment from them that they want to fix those problems. Now our products and business are the solution to their problems.
- Put yourself in the other’s shoes. You know your prospect or partner well, so you should be able to put yourself in his or her shoes and see the situation in a way they might see it but be careful not to make assumptions.
- Seek to understand. Again, instead of defending, try to understanding where the other person is coming from.
- Ask questions. Assuming what your prospect or your partner means or is saying can lead to unnecessary misunderstandings. When you are perspective-taking, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. “I’m hearing you say..” “Is that correct?” “Is this how you see it?”
The benefits of perspective-taking are many. Couples will argue less frequently, have fewer misunderstandings and have a greater respect for each other. It may not come easily at first, but don’t give up. The more you practice perspective-taking with your prospect your are trying to recruit into your organization or your business partner and in other areas of your life, the easier it will become.