In negotiation courses, everyone talks about active listening, but in reality more than 70% of people don’t listen.
What is the secret behind active listening?
Most of the time people listen, but in a polite manner, that is, they wait their turn to speak, and while waiting, they think about what the other is going to say. They think about what the other might think. In fact, they are thinking about something else, and therefore they are not really listening.
During our master classes, we sometimes do this little exercise where we ask someone to share a short story, no longer than a minute or two, and the rest of the group listens.
One of them once said that he had organized a diving session for friends, and shared with the team that he had tried and succeeded in negotiating a 20% discount with the diving company. Later in their stay, he realizes that he could have bargained more, and that he had paid the tourist rate, but they had such a good time. That’s it.
So I asked the band, What did you hear? And one participant replied, “Well, he was so proud that he was able to get a 20% discount from the company.”
It’s an explanation, he never said he was proud. So I asked the author “Was I proud?”. He replied, “Not particularly.”
Another participant replied, “He was frustrated because he didn’t have recognition from his friends.” It is an analysis not based on the author’s real words, he never spoke of confession.
do you see ? This is what happens during the active listening of pseudonyms, people listen, yes, but interpret, judge, and take shortcuts that are actually their own interpretation of the situation.
So the secret to effective listening lies in two little tricks.
The first is the list! By including you in unloading some of the cognitive load necessary for listening. In addition, you will take note of your notes, information and possible questions, and you can even note additional thoughts that disturb the listener, for example: “I’m thinking of buying milk.”
The second is to look at listening as a game, and the game is to hear the needs hidden behind the words. Needs, not judgments, analyzes and interpretations.
Once you find this need, you will have gone 50% of the way to solving the problem.