While engaged in conversation, we appropriately ask questions, and then we listen to the answers. The key issue is, when we listen, do we already have a predetermined hypothesis as to what the answer will be? Have we already formulated a guess, an assumption, or a judgement as to the reply that will come our way? As a result, have we prematurely tuned out of the listening process?
One of the most powerful lessons that experience has taught me in coaching my clients is that when I ask questions, I strive to consciously clear my mind of any expectation about what the answer might be. I have learned repeatedly, that in doing so, I consistently hear answers that I would not have imagined on my own. If I had predicted the answers, I would have clouded my understanding of what the client was trying to explain. As a result of my expectations not being injected, clients express themselves more freely, accurately, and effectively and this type of communication is extremely empowering to them.
The same is true in all of our day to day conversations, professionally and personally. Whether we are conversing with a brand new acquaintance or a long term friend, when we give the gift of that open space for listening to whatever the answer may be, we in turn give ourselves the gift of learning more than we ever could have if we had allowed our own expectations and forecasts to cloud the process.
If you try consciously injecting this method into your discussions, you are likely to find more engaged clients, more interested social contacts, and much newer, fresher, and richer information than would have been possible before. So begin learning and mastering this technique today, and watch your rapport and connection deepen and expand in a satisfying and transformative way.
Contact Heidi at Reinvention Life Coaching for one to one coaching to expand upon this and other communication skills or for a customized presentation for your group, board, or organization.