What ever happened to the lost art of conversation?
We encountered a rare and perhaps endangered species this morning – conversation, and more importantly – at least from my perspective – listening well.
Celeste Headlee delivered an absolutely outstanding general session – “The Lost Art of Conversation” on Day 2 of the IABC 2019 world conference in Vancouver B.C.
“Empathy means I'm going to help you, even if there's nothing in it for me," she told attendees. These are powerful words and they are at the core of listening.
Celeste laid it out clearly.
The challenge is we’re not always listening well. We’re either multitasking and not giving our full attention or we’re getting in our own way, letting a little bit of “Oh, I know, I’ve been there” get in the way, jumping straight to problem-solving gear.
As communicators, we’re often not so good at communicating. We’re pretty smart (most of the time), but that doesn’t make us wise all the time. So, we cut off our clients before they have a chance to completely lay out an issue.
And when we do this, we are telling our clients that we really aren’t that interested in what they have to say. In our rush to solve problems we simply don’t have a clue sometimes.
When true listening happens, the brain waves of the speaker are exactly the same as the brain waves of the listener. This is harmony and alignment at its best. Celeste referred to this as “Speaker-Listener Neural Coupling.” I would call this productive, collaborative and respectful client relations.
Imagine if we had this kind of connection with every client? We would be doing more awesome. We’d already be at the table and our voice would be just as well listened to as our client’s voices.
Food for thought.