As a child, your parents probably told you to put on your “listening ears” when they really wanted you to hear – and obey – what they had to say. It was a reminder to stop and pay attention.
When negotiating or dealing with conflict, we need to remember that lesson we were taught so long ago – there’s power in listening.
For many of us, our first inclination when negotiating for something that we really want, or feel strongly about, is to start right out pressing why ours is the winning position. Then what tends to happen is we are so busy thinking about what we will say next that we don’t even bother to pay attention to what the other person is saying. We formulate what we will say next to better our position, wait for them to pause or take a breath and then jump right back in.
You know how this story ends. Neither side “wins”, and both walk away more frustrated than before the interaction began. So what was missing? Taking the time to listen to what the other person was really saying, understanding it, and coming up with a solution together.
Listening is a skill that needs to be developed and used often. Listening – truly listening – to what the other person says has three powerful benefits:
- It defuses their anger. More often than not, they are trying to get you to understand their point of view. If you just take the time to hear them out without interjecting your counterpoints, chances are they will calm down enough to hear your side and you can have a discussion rather than a shouting match.
- It gives you a different perspective. We’ve all heard the saying, “there are always two sides to every story.” If we don’t take the time to listen to the other side – and ask questions – we may be missing some important information that will allow us to make a better decision.
- It opens the door for us to be heard. By giving the other person an opportunity to feel they’ve been heard and understood, they will hopefully do the same for you.
By taking the time to listen, you may actually discover that the differences you perceived are not difficult to overcome, and you are that much closer to a win-win scenario than you thought.
Is your business, organization or community suffering from unresolved conflicts? Business Relationship Edge has the Solution. Give us a call at 732.859.8419 to schedule your 30 minute complimentary assessment.