Great stuff from guest blogger, Steve Dorfman!
“How do you mean?”
There are so many great reasons to adopt this new phrase, none more important than gaining the ability to actively listen to others when they speak and share.
How does it make you feel when people ask you questions about your insights? The right questions , important and valued. questions foolish. That said, how would you like to have others feel?
What does it make you think/feel when someone asks, “What do you mean?” Can you picture the expression on their face? While their intention may be to gain clarity, it’s easy for us to become defensive or feel less than intelligent. Perhaps, it makes us feel we’re not communicating well. However you slice it feelings of inferiority or defensiveness result from this simple everyday question.
Would you like to gain clarity, without appearing less than intelligent, offensive, or like you may not have even been listening?
Often when you ask, “What do you mean,” the other person (usually out of frustration) simply repeats what they just said! On the other hand, when you ask, “How do you mean,” the other person will always find a new and different way to convey their point, insight or message.
When used properly*, you can expect the following results:
· Gain clarity
· the other person feel smart, important and valued
· another to feel “heard”
· a great listener
· Gain another’s perspective
· Clarify context
· Show interest
· Learn more
· Demonstrate respect, patience and restraint
so quick, sometimes, to assume we know what another person . Too often, others feel misunderstood. This implies that not really listening. People just want to be heard. Think of some of your favorite friends and family members – I’ll bet great listeners.
Some of you may be saying, “How do you mean sounds unusual. I’d never say that.” They didn’t used to be my words either and they have become some of the most powerful words I have ever adopted. I use this question almost daily and, without fail, the other person latches right on and elaborates, clarifies and/or paraphrases. Give it a try and soon find yourself achieving many of the results listed above.
The next time someone tells you, “You’re so great,” try replying with “How do you mean?”
*Note: ccording to a popular study**, words account for 7% of communication the other 93% is a combination of voice tone and physiology (body language). Show genuine interest.
© Copyrighted 2008 Steve Dorfman and Driven To Excel, Inc.
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