We all feel the need to be loved and to be listened to. You recently or sometime earlier had an experience and you wish you could share that with somebody close to you. You wish you could speak your heart out to somebody you could trust. You wish somebody gave you a shoulder on which you could lean when things didn’t turn out the way you would have wanted to. You wish you could tell the story you have but the truth is there are too many barriers. Either you can’t trust the other person or you still can’t find one such rare friend.
I had one such rare friend but we our ways parted when we chose our respective careers. We had last met each other around 11 years ago and since then our demanding office hours and personal lives made it impossible for us to meet. I must admit that every good relationship has its own ups and downs. Ours was no different either. We had our misunderstandings, arguments and ego problems but honestly he was the most matured person and a keen listener who kept the negatives at the minimum. I sometimes wished I could be like him. No doubt that he is very successful today and reached career peaks which few dared to imagine. I am sure, even you know only a few people, maybe one or two with whom you can share your feelings. Such people are rare to find. They do not just listen with care but you can actually see that their feedback is genuine and in your best interests. There may be traces of their own self interests but as I said before, the ultimate decision maker in your life is only you.
Last year I read a book on “Getting Past No” by William ury who is a Harvard university graduate. In his book he mentioned about how to be successful in negotiations. He mentioned in his book that the most successful negotiators have a very unique quality in them whereas a poor negotiator has a bad quality in them. Its about “LISTENING“. Good negotiators listen with interest to the other person’s point of view first and then speak whereas bad negotiators speak “blah blah blah” and then they say, “So! What do you think?”.
Post listening to the other person’s point of view first, you are giving him/her the chance to express his/her interests and concerns. Once they have expressed, it is then your chance to derive a positive meaning out of it which is in sync with your objective and the opposite person’s goal to go ahead with the discussion.
While I am sharing my understanding and knowledge based on the book and my experience but I am myself trying to be one good listener/negotiator. Here’s what can be done to be one:
- Let the other person speak at first
- Display a positive body language and a nod to show that you are understanding to his/her point of view but do not fake it. Try to listen with keen interest as much as possible.
- Question wherever possible to get more insight or ask for clarification in a positive tone.
- Do not jump to a decision at the spot
- Derive a positive meaning out of it which is in sync with your ultimate objective
- Take the discussion further showing interests and benefits with the Mutual goal
- Close the discussion with the mutual agreement
A change takes place when you make conscious efforts towards it. The art of being a good listener also requires an effort.