Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could immediately improve the quality of the conversations you’re having with people? If you could come across as more intelligent and drastically increase the value of these interactions, both in a professional setting and in your personal life?
Well, you’re in luck because what I described above is very possible and completely within your reach!
If you want a quick tip for becoming instantly smarter, check out the video below:
Yes, that’s right. The key is to simply SLOW DOWN.
It can be so frustrating (and so obvious) when you’re talking to someone but they aren’t really listening. Instead, they’re thinking about their own response without really taking in what you’re saying in the first place.
We’ve all been guilty of this, but we don’t have to be.
Not only does slowing down show the people you’re talking to that you’re really listening, it also gives you more time to process information you’re hearing and craft an appropriate response. Slowing down helps remove the emotional gut reactions to information and replace them with logic.
Here are a couple quick tips on how to slow down, really listen, improve the quality of your conversations, and seem smarter in the process:
- Take a breath – Before launching into a response, pause and breathe. (Note: Be careful not to make this breath a big sigh. That may have the opposite effect…)
- Repeat the question – Repeating a question or paraphrasing what the other person has just said can be a great way of creating a bit more space in a conversation for thought. It doesn’t take much mental energy to repeat a question or a few key words. Doing so can help you take that necessary moment to gather your thoughts and ideas before replying. This technique is also a great way to show the speaker you’re really listening and build trust.
Mirroring and Labeling
Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator, is the author of an amazing book called Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It. This book is an incredible tool if you’re preparing for a negotiation or just looking to improve the conversations you have on a daily basis. He provides very actionable techniques that you can use to improve the quality of these interactions.
Voss goes into detail on the concept of repeating and paraphrasing what you’ve just heard. He calls this mirroring and labeling. These techniques are invaluable when building rapport, trust, and making the person you’re talking to feel understood and valued.
The Space Between Stimulus and Response
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey is another one of my favorite books of all time. It’s a brilliant, principles-based approach to improving ourselves both personally and professionally. I seriously can’t recommend it enough.
One of the great insights Covey shares with us is that “between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In those choices lie our growth and our happiness.”
This powerful concept is part of the first habit Covey reviews in his book about being proactive. It fits in perfectly with our technique of slowing down. Instead of reacting emotionally or instinctively to whatever someone says (or planning your response when you should really still be listening), instead use the space between stimulus and response to pause, slow down, and then respond.
Just try it. I promise you’ll notice a difference – and so will the people you’re in conversations with as well.
Want to learn more about Never Split the Difference, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and/or the benefits of slowing down? Feel free to apply for one of my complimentary diagnostic sessions and we can review these concepts and uncover anything else that might be holding your business back.