How to Ask the Questions
Once someone has stopped speaking and you have looked down, nodded, counted to 10 and reflected on what words you heard, then you can ask questions to make sure what you think you heard was what the other person meant to convey.
Communication is rarely easy, as there are so many factors involved. It is a blend of life experiences, unconscious and conscious fears, self-awareness, observation skills, intention, interpretation, attention, culture, environment and much more!
The Spirit in Which You Ask
A woman called "The Mother" who studied with Siri Arubindo, an Indian mystic, wrote in one of her books:
"Everything always depends on the way in which things are done -- not so much what one does but the spirit in which one does it."
I love that quote and you will hear it often from me, as it relates to so many areas in life!
When you ask questions, if you do so with a spirit of genuinely seeking to understand, that nonverbal message will shine through -- so that even if you are clumsy with your asking, your heart is in the right place and the other person will not take offense.
Examine the spirit in which you are listening to everyone today and for this week. Are you silently wishing they would hurry up and finish, or thinking how awkward you feel, or planning your escape or reply, or telling yourself all sorts of negative things about the person -- or are you just tuned out completely?
Consciously listen with a spirit of seeking to understand and notice the changes in the effectiveness of your communication.
Pay attention to how happy people are after you have a conversation with them. If you are a leader, this tiny change will transform how people relate to you.
How many times have you, as a parent or partner, been listening in a distracted way and your toddler (or partner) has said ''You're not listening to me!''? They are right -- you weren't!
Once You Have the Right Spirit
- ''Help me understand...''
- ''If I may, can I ask if you meant this...''
- ''I am not sure I really understand what you mean so could you just explain it again?''
- ''I am wondering...''
- ''I don't want to assume anything so can I just confirm...''
Let us know what happened!!
For more by Amanda Gore, click here.
For more on emotional intelligence, click here.