Friday, April 18, 2008

Watching the Flow

Recently, I recalled Mo Udall's quip about congressional committee hearings: "Everything has been said but not everyone has said it."

The recollection was triggered by watching how different perspectives can surface during meetings. Often the smartest thing you can do is to sit back and let others make your point. More frequently than we might admit, they make it better than we would. You also avoid a problem: No one likes a meeting in which only one person makes all of the good points.

And when it comes to disagreements, clarify, clarify, clarify. Listen carefully for meaning and the other person's reality. You may find that the disagreement is minor or major but in either case you'll be better prepared to deal with it because the intensity of your listening may result in your understanding the speaker's position even better than the speaker.


Anonymous said...

I'm working my way thru a situation now that this post speaks to. And clarity is what is being sought. No matter what the intention is, the perception of the "receiver" needs to be listened to. As you say, what is the other person's reality.
Listening skills are absolutely critical. Someone much older and wiser once advised me prior to a negotiation, God gave you two ears and one mouth - so listen twice as much as you speak!

Michael Wade said...

It's that old rule of listening for what was meant instead of what was said and getting at least a sense of the other person's reality is a big part of that.