A common trait in many executives at every level inside companies and, you know, in the population is just talking too much. And, you know, we get excited about whatever the content is that we have to deliver to whoever’s in front of us and we just start talking about it. And it becomes a monologue. And if it’s not a monologue then what it comes is "I want to win the interaction with you. I want to prove that I’m right and anything you say to me I’m just gonna pick on that and you’re wrong."
So the way the tool to overcome this, if you want to overcome this as an executive, is what I call it listening for content. Most people listen to win the interaction. "Where’s that one word in their response where I can pounce on it and I can crush you like a bug?" But when you have a dialogue with somebody who listens for content, they’re asking you clarifying questions. They’re interested in your content. They’re asking you the second, third and fourth question as it relates to your content and they’re digging into the content. And you feel really good because the person across from you is deeply immersed in what you have to say.
And you’re still able to deliver but you’re delivering through a dialogue because the person across from you is listening for content, not listening to try and win the interaction. And I think for all of us we can take a lesson from people who ask clarifying questions, who engage in the material a different way.
You feel really good as a person because by asking clarifying questions and engaging in the content that way there’s affirmation that’s coming across to you as the giver of that material. And now you want to hear what I have to say because you know I’m not out to try and crush you, right. You know I’m out to try and understand, to learn from you, to understand your point of view. It takes a little bit longer. It takes a little bit more on your side because you want to really pull out what the person has to say in their content and it’s not just about your content. And I think companies would be a lot better, people would be a lot better if we could train people to listen for content and do a lot less of trying to win the interaction.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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