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Be a Sounding Board

We assume to connect with others that they must feel they can relate to us. That, after leaving a conversation, our partner in conversation should say, “that person understands me”, or if we're lucky, maybe even, “that person is like me.”

We’ve all done it - feel as though we had to impart our will on a conversation so we are looked upon favorably afterward. We had to share our side, no matter how irrelevant or important our comments were. We tell ourselves that the result is our partner in conversation knows what we are about.

The result of forcing our will on the conversation can be incredibly detrimental.

After the typical introductory stages to a conversation, you’ve asked a more poignant question and the other person has responded. Instead of truly listening to what was said, you pick up on a word or two of relatable content and share your comment with the other person. After this derailing, it is uncomfortable to backtrack – it’s too late to ask a follow-up question on what the other person said.

You’ve missed the window.

Why do we do this? It is both easier and more comfortable to feel as if you have related to someone.

A conversation where you are the speaker and listener can feel uncomfortable for both parties. The listener doesn’t want to prod, while the speaker has to discuss something at length that they probably have yet to consider.

As I meet with new people on a daily basis, the more I realize conversation is about uncovering what someone has not considered. In my young career, I have found so rewarding the client service relationship as it allows me the opportunities to challenge my ability to listener.

I do not fight for words. I do not impart my will on a conversation. I ask questions and allow the conversation to head where my partner in conversation needs for it to go.

Listening and asking open-ended questions is the best way to allow someone to consider what they are ready to consider. In both business and life, the ability to pick up on tones, word choice, and body language of another is an invaluable tool that we can use to help others move closer to their vision.

A conversation in which someone else feels as if they are heard will have a greater benefit than a conversation in which we hope for acceptance.

Today, allow your ego to melt away and be a sounding board for someone else. This is how we truly lead.


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