Whether it’s in your business or in your personal life, we all want to be heard. Right? It’s gratifying, empowering, and it makes us feel valued. Even if there is a difference of opinion, we still want our side to be represented. Right? We want others to get who we are and to hear our valid arguments, even if they don’t agree with us–though, of course, we’d like that as well.
What we may not realize is that the best way to get our point across is often counter-intuitive. Here is the trick that no one seems to be talking about: To be successful we have to try less and listen more.
So here are a few tips I’ve collected over the years that will help you get your message across (and improve your listening!):
- Understand Your Story and Their Story. We all have a different experience of the same situation. My story may vary widely from my partner’s, even when we’re looking at the same facts. Remember that. This helps you to exercise caution about how much you think you know about someone else’s motives. Try not to presume. Make your goal to see the situation through their lens.
- Educate – don’t sell, blame, or accuse. When it’s time to tell your story, you have to teach the listener what things look like from your perspective. Teach with compassion and understanding. People tend to shut off the moment they feel you’re trying to sell something, or accuse them. Acknowledge their perspective before asserting yours. Assume that the person has positive intent, and I try to help him to live up to that assumption.
- Stay interested. Remain curious and childlike. Look at each situation with new eyes. Don’t forget that everything you experience is filtered through your perception, your lens. As Stephen Covey says, “Seek first to understand.”
Communication is important – I get it. When we focus on making it about us, we risk alienating others. By making it about understanding, you create relate-ability and connection. This is key to getting your message across.