Yesterday I spoke to a past PMI President from Europe, as part of a research project for a new speech I will be doing for PMI Regional Leadership Meetings.
I love this. I should write this short piece down and tape it to my wall.
One of my greatest weaknesses is listening and as a result, I jump to the conclusion before I know all the issues. I think my problem is that I talk too much and often find myself too anxious to get my opinion or word out. I end up speaking too soon, often to disastrous outcomes.
Awhile back a very good friend sat me down and told me that I needed to pause every time I wanted to jump in. Wait she said. Let the other side take a breath. There may be more. And it could be that that extra little bit was crucial to the discussion or debate or eventual outcome.
When arguing a point, wait, listen. There might be more. When listening to someone’s issues, wait, listen. There might be more. Sales people are tough early on: Don’t jump into quickly. Wait, listen. There might be more.
It’s that extra pause that can open a door that you never knew existed.
When I do my keynote speech on networking, I talk about the ‘art and science’ of meeting new people. There is that moment in the process when two of you are searching for the common thread. My father-in-law, Peter, always said “Stop and Listen. Make the other person the star of the show.” He was so right. Put your story on hold for a little longer than usual and you just might find nuggets of gold one small pause away. Wait, Listen.
This morning I was listening to Alan Middleton, Executive Director of the Schulich Executive Education Centre while he was receiving the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) 2014 Communicator of The Year award. He was talking about the art of communicating when he said “Hear what is NOT being said”. The best way to do this is to wait, listen and wait some more.
Next time you are facing an adversary, a partner, a client or an employee and you are into the depths of an argument, discussion or negotiation, here these words: listen, wait, listen some more and then act.
I promise it will pay off.
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