Extract Accurate Information: Turn on Spotlight and LISTEN
Colle Davis, a Senior Level Executive Coach for 35 years
The din of life dulls the mind’s ability to separate the noise from the signal, the real message. When you’re talking, listening stops for you. When you’re listening, you’re in the process of gathering information to serve the person in front of you.
Extracting the maximum amount of usable information in the shortest time is so simple it is easy to discount the effectiveness of the process. Talking to a spouse, child, family member, a complete stranger, a coworker or your boss this technique extracts information at a prodigious rate. It works because shifting the focus to the other person gives them the space to talk giving you information, sometimes even things they would be better served not to tell you.
Here is the formula for effective listening: Make three or four statements (facts or not) to the person or group and then ask a question. Listen to the answer(s). Repeat. You are not waiting for your turn to talk, you are waiting for the conversation to return to you as a trusted source of information.
To test for validity in your next three or four conversations, follow the formula. This may seem unfamiliar and awkward but try it.
Here’s the trick. After the statements ask this type of question: ‘Does this apply to you?’ Or, ‘Does this makes sense?’ Or ‘Where can you implement the process?’ Or ‘How will this impact your group?’ Open-ended questions where the other party can respond with a creative answer.
Engaging the other party by asking questions allows them the opportunity to express their creativity and explain how they can contribute. The graciousness demonstrated by you for using this technique endears you to the other party and builds deep trust. They have no idea they are being manipulated to reveal valuable information. When they are the center of attention, they can’t help talking and pontificating on how smart they are and how much they know about everything. Sound familiar? Be careful when giving in to the need to talk.
- A method to increase your awareness of using this technique is to imagine a spotlight on the speaker. You start with the spotlight on you, the main character in your life, and when you stop talking (at the end of your question, a strange phenomenon will take place, silence). Few people can let a silence hang for more than a few seconds. Someone has to talk, and the spotlight will be on them.
- They will oblige you by starting to talk. Bam, spotlight on them! Now they get their fifteen seconds of fame and gush out information for you to file and use later.
- Coaching Note: To encourage them to continue talking, nod occasionally, blink slower and lean toward them a bit. Don’t laugh these additional enhancements will pay huge dividends.
There is an interesting and long lasting side effect from using this technique. You will look smarter, more poised and far more caring the longer you use it. Be prepared for people to come to you with information, gossip, rumors and simply to chat because you are now ‘a good listener’ and someone they trust. The key is to keep the spotlight on them and the information flowing to you.
Gossip, rumors, and chat will eat up your time. Keep the inflow of information clean by insisting on only clean, clear vetted information is to be shared with you. The rest of the noise has no value, and you are not there to listen to it.
Good luck. For learning how to win, charm and build loyalty, contact me for more ideas. Coach Colle Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org or 800 95Coach.