An article describing an interview with Samantha X, “Australia’s most high profile escort,” recently caught my attention
An escort’s advice
Samantha had this surprising observation. She says the main thing her clients want is not sex. It’s “companionship, intimacy and affection.” She further observed: Believe it or not, it’s not porn star sex my clients want; … It’s quite often slow, gentle foreplay, lots of talking and for me, lots of listening.” (My emphasis).
In another article, she noted: clients tend to seek emotional connection more than anything else. Her advice is spot-on: “Be open and honest! Communication is key. If you’re with someone you are embarrassed to ask, then my question is: should you be in bed with them?”
Why it matters
My research and experience validates Samantha’s advice. When prospects meet with you, you may believe they’re interested in your advice about investing and financial planning. Often that’s true but they are almost always looking for the same thing as Samantha’s clients: An emotional connection.
Listening is the currency of rapport, and the window into trust, connection, and mutual engagement. The quality of our conversations, our relationships, and our reputations all hinge on how well we can do this one simple activity.
This is where the train goes off the tracks. You are trained to “present” and demonstrate your expertise. This approach is unlikely to create even modest engagement, much less an emotional connection. Here’s what will: Listening, eliciting information and showing a genuine interest in the prospect.
Heed this wisdom from the French Philosopher Simone Weil: Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.
Relationship development expert AJ Harbinger put it even more starkly: Listening is the currency of rapport, and the window into trust, connection, and mutual engagement. The quality of our conversations, our relationships, and our reputations all hinge on how well we can do this one simple activity.
I’m deep into the research for my new self-help book, aptly titled Ask. It expands the research underlying The Solin Process℠ to all relationships. I’m struck by the consensus on the power of asking questions, and the failure of so many of us to engage in this practice in other than a perfunctory way, if at all.
I’ve trained myself to reflexively ask questions rather than making declarative statements. When I meet someone for the first time, I want to understand their story. Who are they? How did they get to their current position in life? What do they do for fun? What books do they read?
It’s fascinating how much people will share if you empower them to talk.
In personal relationships, asking questions is even more powerful. I challenged a coaching client to ask his wife this question: Is there anything unspoken between us? He looked stunned and then said: If I asked her that, she would talk for hours. I replied that, if so, that was reason enough to open a dialogue with her and not continue to stifle communication.
We could learn from Samantha’s insights into human nature. She doesn’t confuse a monologue with a dialogue.
Resource of the Week
You can learn more about Samantha’s perspective in this article.