Updated: Jun 16, 2019
Communication, is about getting through the barriers the recipients create around themselves. The greatest barrier is a listening block created by the recipient wishing to empty himself or herself of his or her views.
If we want people to listen to us, we have to make adequate space for them and their views, irrespective of how trivial the matter or irrational they may appear.
We have to listen to others to have ourselves heard.
My son Amarprit now 34 years young often accompanied me when I went to business and social meetings.
While I used to lead the discussions I observed a strange phenomenon, people used to start addressing my son rather than me. This used to disturbed me, for every elder particularly the father thinks he is smarter and more competent than his children. Did people not know who was in charge? Could they not see the father?
Nevertheless, Amarprit with less knowledgable, less experienced, less assertive and less aggressive than me was simply more effective in communication.
I initially attributed it to my son's charm and intelligence. Then I soon realised, it was also because my son was not only a good listener but a respectable one too. He always tried to understand and appreciate the other person's needs, problems before he offered a solution which we had already planned. Like my wife it is my son's inherent capacity to give the other person space. Space to express, space to be heard, space to be human. He was an eager and sincere listener.
I like to think of us as being innovative and original, so we never offer the standard 'formula 44' solution to any challenge. When the client works for a large organisation his or her choices for innovation and implementation are limited, particularly when the person works for the government.
People want their lives to be easier not more complex. People are calibrated to the standard approach and seek easy solutions provided by the usual people, which often do not work.
Audiences need time. Time to be sensitised, time to think, time to question, time to understand, time to discuss with colleagues, and time to revert.
I used to always be in a rush. I would go in with my presentation, my brilliant ideas and thoughts etc. etc. I was a no nonsense man, in a hurry, I valued time, both mine and the listeners, delivered my spiel and guess what? More often than not nothing much happened.
Not everyone is that objective, humans the social creature cannot be rushed into accepting new concepts, plans or entities.
Just because I had mulled over challenges and it made great logical sense to me does not mean the listener saw it that way at first. In many cases the other person has not given as much thought to the subject matter as I had.
Amarprit engages the other person and states the purpose and then sincerely listens to the other person. After the person has said all that he has to say, then he is open to listening. His curiosity is aroused the dialogue began and the transaction was often successfully carried out.
In Indian society this is extremely important, to be a respectful listener, especially when interacting with people who are older or hold a position of any consequence. One has to make haste slowly.
It took a young man in his early 20s to teach me what I had been doing rather ineffectively and inefficiently for 25 years. Thanks to my son Amarprit I have learnt to, listen so as to be heard, and my track record of successes has improved tremendously.
Selling an idea, concept or product is always a seduction, and the hard sell hardly works. The soft sell is usually more effective.
From my book and Seminar on 'Effective Communication & Conversation'
We are all trying to sell something. An idea, a product, an emotion, an instruction. Whatever it may be, it involves communication and conversation.
To facilitate development of these vital skills, Guru Wonder conducts a one and two day program on 'Effective Communication & Conversation' for leaders.
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Email: Guru Wonder