The Mother of All Communication Disconnects…
When I am teaching interpersonal skills, I often talk about something I call the “communication gap.”
This is the naturally occurring difference between what one person says, and what the other person thinks they said. In my experience, more often than not they are two very different things. There are many aspects to what causes this gap in communication. Too many to go into in this article.
This gap in communication, which is essentially miscommunication, is at the core of many arguments and frustrations between people in relationships, a huge factor in inefficiency in all business, a significant stumbling block in working with a prospect or a team member. One of the simplest tools you can employ to help resolve this, is to use the question “what do you mean by that?”
This is what is called a Clarifying Open-ended Question
This is what is called a clarifying open-ended question. In order to effectively employ this, we have to be aware that it is possible we might not actually know what someone is saying. We have to lay aside our assumptions at the moment, which is not always easy, and focus on truly understanding what the other person is saying. Often, if we are willing to make this investment in the conversation, we will find out that we didn’t really understand what they were trying to say, and ultimately, we will become clear as to what they are saying, which of course, allows us to respond appropriately and more effectively.
This Leads to a Cascade of Positive Results
This leads to a cascade of positive results. First, we will actually be having a true conversation devoid of misunderstanding. Second, we will be demonstrating that we really do care what they are saying. And third, we will be building a stronger trust with the person, because we are showing them we are truly listening to them, and we live in a world where the majority feels like no one is listening.
The Majority Feels Like No One is Listening
This is a phenomenal question to ask when someone raises an objection or makes a statement during the process of sharing your product or opportunity. Especially when someone says something that you may take offense to or seems to be negative. Instead of reacting, simply ask the question!
This video/audio is in English with the German translation as well and was taken from a seminar I did a few years back in Berlin. I touch on a few aspects of the communication gap, including this topic. I hope you enjoy it!
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