I recently heard Eric Maddox speak. He’s the man who gathered the intel that ultimately led to the capture of Saddam Hussein. If you want to read the entire account, you can get his book: https://ericmaddox.com/mission-black-list-1/
In a nutshell, he approached interrogation very differently from his counterparts. He opted to build trust with detainees by listening, and by doing so, he increased their success rate from 4 percent to upwards of 50 percent. As he shared his story, I was reminded at just how difficult listening—really listening—is for us. On average, we only hear about 25 percent of what someone says. Yikes! How is this possible? Because we tend to bring our own agenda to every conversation.
We’ve all been to those awful, dreaded networking events where everyone is there to sell you something. Business cards are thrown in your face before you ever get to introduce yourself. The object is clear: get something from you. In all honesty, it is why I don’t attend many networking functions. You can smell the desperation as you enter the room as small businesses try to survive by getting one more sale. The unfortunately truth is that they are short-sighted. They go for the quick win today rather than the long-term relationship that can pay ten times the dividend.
I am human and know I am guilty of oversharing, but I do try to ask questions and listen to the responses. Unfortunately, several forces work against us all in our attempts to communicate effectively with one another. Our immediate surroundings can distract us. Again, many network meetings are held in public restaurants with screaming babies and loud music. Talk about distracting! Significant events in our own lives can hinder our ability to hear what someone is saying as can jargon…you know, those big words some folks throw around to elevate themselves? Oooh. That is a pet peeve of mine. When a simple word will do, use it. Why risk confusing someone, embarrassing them, or turning them off when the point should be comprehension of your message.
I won’t dive deep into this because plenty of programs are available these days on the subject matter, but our own bias will positively or negatively influence what we hear. Then there are those who have to fix every problem and offer a solution to anything that comes out of your mouth. The one sharing is left feeling deflated and unheard. Ouch. How easy it is for us out of good intentions to step all over someone, ultimately shutting down the lines of communication and giving the impression that we don’t care…when we really do.
And of course, most of us are so busy crafting what we will say next that we forget to actually hear what the other person said. We assume we know and jump into the conversation WE want to have. Sigh. I’ll say it again: listening takes work! The good news is we can improve immediately by simply seeking to understand them and their perspective. Who are they? What matters to them? This is where my communication program and coaching put the rubber to the road and offers great strategies based upon unique wiring, emotional intelligence, and driving forces or motivators.
Want to be a better communicator? Start by first learning about your self and what listening traps you fall into. Then, discover how you can adapt your messaging to meet the needs of others. I can help! Give me a call, and we can start today. You can also purchase my book, Leverage Your Communication Style.