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When I was growing up it was all about being smart and clever. He who is the fastest with the best answer wins. Truth be told, I was pretty good at that. I got lots of pats on the head. Back then.
Later on I found out that I was actually in the slow learners club, because nobody wanted me to be their oracle. Very few people cared whether I was smart or clever and my answers weren’t all that important to them. It turned out that, oddly enough, people were far more interested in their own lives than they were in mine. Go figure.
Then somebody told me to start listening. He said to give my full attention to others when they were speaking and to stay right with them all the way through what they had to say. He said to concentrate on seeking to understand. He called it Level 5 Listening.
So I tried that. It was hard. I desperately wanted to listen only until the moment when I had enough information to reply with my astonishingly clever and insightful response. I wanted to turn the conversation to what I thought. But I persevered past my knee-jerk behavior and suddenly I wasn’t as much of a jerk.
People thanked me for listening. They found what they wanted by talking through their issue as I listened intently. They were grateful. They actually thought I was smart and clever – just because I listened. Who-da thunk it?
What I wish I knew back when I thought I knew is that most people have their own best answers and solutions most of the time and they don’t really need my views. What they always need is for me to listen. That’s what drives the best relationships. That’s how the best things happen. And that’s what great leaders do.
Invite Jack to Speak!
Whether it’s a keynote presentation for your annual meeting or the industry convention, or the workshop for your leadership team, Jack delivers actionable content that goes down easy and delivers great value. Check into the possitilities here.
Invite Jack to Speak!
Whether it's a keynote presentation for your annual meeting or the industry convention, or the workshop for your leadership team, Jack delivers actionable content that goes down easy and delivers great value. Check into the possitilities here.