Hyperactive Listening

Take a close look at the photo.  It happens to be Chip’s youngest granddaughter, Cassie.  It could be your son, daughter, grandchild or someone special to you.  Now, imagine you are in a quiet, undistracted conversation with your “Cassie.”  If we could secretly eavesdrop on that dialogue, what would be its features?

You would likely be noticeably gentle—softly gauging your cadence and comportment in a fashion that conveys warmth and acceptance. You would likely be completely nonjudgmental and valuing in your style, manner and attitude.  Your interest would be telegraphed through sincere eye hugs, total openness and complete authenticity.  You would care more about cultivating inclusiveness than making an impression; more about fostering trust than winning a point.  You would be intensely curious and loudly affirming no matter the elegance of what you heard.

We typically display our most ideal self when communicating with an innocent child.  Striped of pretension, agenda and plot, we unleash a reciprocal innocence that triggers confidence and courage.  The result can nurture self-esteem and bolster pride. Think of your “Cassie” the next time you are in any important conversation or any unimportant conversation with an important person.   To paraphrase a well-known truism–listen to others with the best that you have and the best will come back to you.

About Chip&John

Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson are customer loyalty consultants and the authors of several best-selling books. Their newest book is "Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to do About it."
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