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What I’m Listening For

“You have two ears and one mouth for a reason” is of course true, but I still consider it an Olympic-class example of hollow advice simply because it’s so incomplete.

Just as it’s true that “it’s about the quality of the words you say, not the quantity”, the quality of what you listen to is more important than the quantity as well.

So, here’s a list of what I’m trying to listen for:
1) What the client is saying
2) How they are saying it
3) What aren’t they saying, deliberately or not
4) What is the main fear that drives all of the above

And people

Now, unlike the words coming from me, I can’t control what they are going to say. But that doesn’t mean I can’t influence it.

I can ask questions, ask for clarifications, and repeat/mirror what they said to encourage them to develop something further. It’s also fairly easy to tell them examples/metaphors that will unearth memories or spark a conversation about a topic.

Oftentimes, the client will feel more listened to after answering 2 to-the-point questions than after hours of poorly directed venting.

What I’m searching for is the “value pinch” moment: when what I picked up by listening allows me to warn them about something important they would have otherwise missed. I make a point of doing that for free, as this earns their trust and confidence, giving me leverage for the negotiations in the future.

Try the list out, it will help.

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