The number one thing you can do to improve any relationship is learn how to be a good listener, according to John Gottman.
Eric Barker stashed this in Diabolical Plans For World Domination
To be a great listener:
- Be a detective. You need to be interested. The best way to do that is to play detective and be curious.
- How little can you say? Ask questions. Paraphrase to make sure you understand. Past that, just shut up.
- Can you summarize to their approval? If you paraphrase what they said and they reply, “Exactly” — you win.
- Don’t try to fix them. Be Socrates. Help them find their own solution. People remember their own ideas best.
- Monitor body language. Eye contact and open postures are good. Touch their elbow to help create a bond.
- Review the common mistakes we all make. And then don’t do them.
Listen and people will listen back. In fact, they’ll do more than that. They will come to trust and love you.
To quote David Augsburger:
“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”
Listening affects both personal and professional relationships:
In an age of sub-zero attention spans, focus is a superpower. And focusing on others is even more rare.
When I asked the #1 love researcher, John Gottman, what the best thing to do to improve a relationship was, what did he say?
Learn how to be a good listener.
And it’s no different at the office. Why do nearly 50% of people quit their jobs?
They didn’t feel their boss listened to them.
Another study released by the US Department of Labor concluded that 46 percent of those who quit their jobs did so because they felt not listened to and were therefore unappreciated. Consider this: almost half the workforce will leave their job because they didn’t feel like their boss was listening.
My favorite tip is 4) Don’t try to fix them. Be Socrates.
People do need help. But nobody likes being told what to do. Um… difficult.
The key here is that everyone wants to maintain autonomy. Tell them how to solve their problems and they’ll resist.
Instead, ask questions so that they solve the problem on their own.
“How can I listen to this person in a way that enables him to solve his own problem?”
Ask questions that might gently guide them toward a solution.
Former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss recommends questions that start with “How” or “What.” These get someone thinking and talking instead of just replying “yes” or “no.”