JS Tip 238: From the Personal Communication Workshops: Identifying the Other Person’s Interests
Ask questions to determine what the other person wants or needs.
Use open-ended questions that invite discussion:
What’s important to you?
Why is that important to you?
How would you like to do this?
Why would you do it that way?
Listen to what the other person says. Listen intently. Engage. Follow the logic threads in the other person’s comments. If you lose that thread, raise a finger until the other person pauses. Explain, “I apologize, but I got lost there. I didn’t understand the relationship between [whatever] and [whatever]. Please help me understand.”
Two things happen. The other person appreciates your listening closely, and the other person appreciates your honesty in saying, “I got lost there.”
Keep the conversation going by encouraging the other person:
“What would happen next?”
“Keep going. This is interesting.”
Watch the other person’s body language.
Is it open? Arms out? Relaxed?
Is it closed? Arms in? Tight?
And what might that body language tell you?
As you identify—and serve—the other person’s interests, you develop the relationship. And that serves you.
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