After concrete and concise, now is the time to cover the third part of the trilogy: meaningful.
Talk about what they care about …
… using the same words they use to describe it.
Great, but how do we know what people care about?
Here are three ways: Listen, Ask and Observe.
Many people love to talk, especially if they feel you’re listening.
They will happily give you a lot of useful information.
Don’t interrupt them.
Pay high quality attention to what they’re saying (or writing).
Notice how they’re describing the situation (what is), the problem (what they don’t want) and the desired outcome (what they do want).
Note the exact words they’re using.
Take notes and refer to them when you’re preparing your own message.
You can also nudge your conversation partner to explore their thinking more.
About the situation and the problem you can ask:
- “What is that like?”,
- “What’s the most important thing about this?”,
- “And what happens then?“
When they tell you about a problem, resist the urge to offer solutions.
First turn the conversation towards desired outcomes by asking:
- “And what would you like to have happen?”
Listen and explore some more.
In this whole process don’t ask too many questions at once.
Ask one question and immediately switch back to high quality listening.
Now you know a lot more about what people care about and you have a much higher chance of making your own communication much more meaningful.
Sometimes people are not ready to tell you their deepest thoughts and desires.
Sometimes they might not be sure themselves.
The fallback solution it to also observe what they actually do in key situations.
That can often tell you a lot about what might be meaningful to that person.
Update your assumptions accordingly.
Try for yourself and tell me your story!
See you soon,
PS. If you’re looking for even more practice in exploring outcomes and creating strong alignment you might like Outcome Focused Leadrship.
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