Listen for Offers
Building on the fundamental principle of agreement, comes the idea to Listen for Offers, or put another way, to listen without Listening for Anything.
First, put yourself in a mindset to observe, to really listen to what is happening around you, and then to accept what you hear. Turn your focus away from the script or continuous voice talking inside your head, and put your attention on what is in front of you.
Second, this involves a conscious effort to turn off the filters in your mind and hear exactly what is being said to you.
Deep listening involves will and effort, usually more than we are used to providing in a work situation, and it pays off by slowing down the communication so that the people involved are truly taking the time to understand what is being said. Replace jumping to conclusions or putting your own filter on what the other person is saying with listening to their words, repeating them if necessary for clarification, and focusing your eye contact and body language to demonstrate that you are listening to the words they speak.
One daily exercise to improve deep listening skills is to choose a person to listen to deeply, but not tell them. Then in a conversation with that person, listen to their every word as if your life depended on it, so that you could repeat the conversation word for word after it’s over. Do this for five minutes. At the end, observe how that short session of deep listening paid off for you and for the other person. Were you able to get to the root of the real problem faster? Did they appreciate being heard? How do they perceive you now? Were you able to solve the real problem faster because you understood it better?