Reflect to Improve Your Persuasiveness
October 27, 2016 @ 9:03 am by ACT
There are many ways that being more persuasive can benefit you, as well as the people and organizations closest to your heart. As such, it is a skill worth developing. So how do you genuinely improve your ability to help others see the world differently? An excellent way to start being more persuasive is to improve your reflective listening skills.
You have most likely heard this quote before – “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” Perhaps, like me, you even wrote it down when you first heard it. It is a terrific reminder of the power of sincere empathy.
So, if you and I were in a conversation, how would I “know that you care” about me and about my issues? At its core, it is based on whether or not I believe you have heard me and you understand me. We naturally want others to “get” how and why we see the world in the way that we do. If you are trying to help me (or sell me something), the ONLY way you will be successful is if you prove to me that you understand and you care about what is important to me.
That proof starts with how well you listen. A quote from Steven R. Covey identifies a common challenge when it comes to listening: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” We tend to want to immediately reply, fix, solve, offer, interject, interrupt or otherwise quickly react to what we just heard…or what we thought we heard.
Reflective listening is the antidote to the “listening to reply” tendency. It quickly conveys that you are listening and understanding. It is simply a point in the conversation where you check in and restate what you have just heard, in your own words.
It might sound like this, “So, what I’m hearing you say is that you are concerned about…. Did I get that right?” You will be told if you got it right. You can then ask, “What else are you concerned about as it relates to….?” There is often more to be learned, and an open-ended question after reflecting will give you a chance to more fully understand the issues. Your response will then be much more effective.
When you practice reflective listening, you will begin to quickly identify (and reflect about) three important things about the topic: 1) Content (the facts they stated); 2) Feelings (how they feel about it); 3) Meaning (what it means to them). You will connect with them emotionally. Barriers will fall and relationships will be strengthened.
You will now be empowered to respond with great empathy, placing you in a very strong position to offer your opinion, solution or assistance. Your persuasiveness will be turbo-charged with reflective listening.
By Jon Abrahamovich, RCC™