We’re trained to believe finishing first is a worthy goal. Sometimes it is but, if you want to develop more meaningful relationships, consider “going second.”
More meaningful relationships
Most of us strive to have more meaningful relationships in all aspects of our life.
A fundamental premise of my new book, Ask (to be published October 2020), is the power derived from switching our brains from conveying information to eliciting it.
We have a choice when we meet someone. We can “go first” by making affirmative statements, often with some self-serving goal (like demonstrating our intelligence, wit or expertise), or we can “go second,” which involves asking questions intended to gently elicit information.
There are many advantages to “going second.”
You are empowering the other person to talk, which makes them feel good about themselves and about you.
You will set yourself up to ask appropriate follow-up questions, which will demonstrate a sincere interest in what’s being said.
Done correctly, the other person will be doing almost all the talking and you will be patiently listening. You’ll be genuinely interested and curious about what’s being said. According to Dale Carnegie, the author of the iconic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, “Rapt attention is the highest form of flattery.”
By simply listening intently, you’ll demonstrate genuine interest and concern.
Lack of reciprocity
There’s a trade-off.
No matter how many questions you ask, you’ll be asked few in return. That’s because it’s so unusual to come across someone who shows an interest in us. When that occurs, we so enjoy the “conversation,” we’re unaware that we are doing all the talking.
It’s a small price to pay for developing deeper, more enriching relationships.
Resource of the Week
This article discusses the benefits of developing listening skills.