We all have that instinct and you know what, we don’t listen to it.
We don’t sit there and think and feel and see. When I would do interviews I would listen to people, all of them. I would never put a table between myself and another person ever. I still don’t. Even now I’m working in the media, when I interview someone, when I talk to someone, my preference is in-person no table between us, because if there’s a table between us, all I can see is what’s going on from here and up.
I want to see all of you. I want to see what every part of your body is doing, because then I can understand you. When I understand you I can begin to communicate.
And listening also means what: you listen and you speak less. We have this myth where we think if we speak more, if we couldn’t control the conversation, we’re in control and it is the exact opposite.
It’s the person who speaks less who’s actually in control, because you’re giving it all up, you’re an open book.
Here you go: what do you want to know about me? And people love to talk. So let them.
Think of it this way – 80:20 rule. You listen 80% of the time, 20% of the time you speak, especially when it’s something that you need from this person, especially when it’s something that you desire that you need to learn, because if you’re talking you’re not learning anything.
And having patience, when people speak and then silence, a lot of us don’t like silence. Sometimes you speak to people and there’s a moment of silence and we feel like we have to keep talking and talking.
Silence is beautiful because when you’re silent you’re also telling that person I want you to answer my question. But when you keep speaking you don’t allow them.
I love special. I tell everyone make people feel special, and they look at me like, what? Make people feel special?
When you speak to someone and you’re looking to have a communication with someone, you have to make that person feel that they are the most important person that you are dealing with at that moment. Doesn’t mean you do one of these or even glance at your watch? Doesn’t mean you pull out your iPhone and talk to people.
And we’ve all had that done to us and it doesn’t feel so good.
During my previous career, I had the privilege of being around some amazing people to include world leaders and presidents. And often I was assigned to former President Clinton and I would accompany him and supplement his detail.
And I was amazed at how he mastered this. He would walk into a room. It didn’t matter where we were, who he was speaking to. And it didn’t matter what was going on in his life. But he would walk into a room and when he would speak to someone he would make that person feel like there was nobody else in that room but him and that person.
And this is a former president of the United States, man who’s quite busy. And you know what else, he would do? He would ask people their name: what’s your name? And he would remember it.
And then half away during the conversation, he mentioned that person by their name, because when you mention somebody by their name, our name is our identity. That’s how we identify ourselves. We’re proud of our name. And when you can remember somebody’s name, that speaks volumes.
That is the ultimate compliment to remember somebody’s name.
Earlier on they asked you to look to each other, introduce yourself, ask the person next to you their name. I bet 80% of you don’t even remember the name of that person you introduced yourself to. Because you’re not listening, you’re not trying to make somebody else feel special.
And it’s okay in this environment but if it’s in an environment where you’re looking to try to get somewhere, it’s always going to hurt you.
Make people feel special. Listen to people. Be present. Nobody matters more than that person across from you.
When I would do interviews, I would take my phone, I would put that thing away. I would take my watch off, because obviously it was very important to me, because I was trying to get an admission or confession. I was trying to solve a crime, to get information.
And I wanted that person whoever it was to know that I had nowhere to go. And all that mattered in that moment was that.
When I say perspective, I speak about in the way in which we look at people, in the way in which we see the world. And as human beings, I’ve learned in studying human behavior and dealing with people, we all are egotistical people in some way. We see the world truly through our own perspective.
We try sometimes to see it through other people’s perspective. But we are so subjective and so biased, and look we’ve each lived our own life and we are a culmination of our own experiences, our life’s experiences. And that makes us who we are.
But when you’re communicating with someone, you have to take a moment and learn about that other person’s perspective. And how do you do that? Well you have to know your audience. You have to know who you’re speaking to.
And if you’re not listening you really don’t know who you’re speaking to.
I was in a situation, or I was on an assignment in Florida, and we were doing in advance as we called it and I was doing the security preparations for one of the people we’re protecting who was going to the site. And my responsibility was to secure the site, the event site to make sure everything was safe for one of our protectees, a high-level protectee.
And I had to work with other members — their staff members, people from the facility, and whatnot. We had to negotiate terms and of course being that I had the security angle I wanted everything locked up and tight. I want to know who’s going in. I want to know who’s going out.