Driving to meet a friend for coffee the other morning and what itched my brain on the drive down, was a recent chat I had with another friend about the recent women’s Olympic soccer match between Canada and the USA. The point of this trending thought really has nothing to do about the outcome… But rather how much the conversation irked me. It really brings up an issue I deal with every day when conversing with clients, family and friends about very touchy subjects.
Do you notice how when you try talking about politics or money, people get defensive or just shut down on the topic? I would love to have an open discussion about an issue but I, not unlike others some how feel quite vehement about our own opinions. We have this desire for people to agree with us, actually I think what we really desire is to be heard, understood and ultimately respected. So when I try to speak about a topic and the other person puts up a wall, I honestly feel disrespected. It isn’t that I need the other to agree with me, I feel my thoughts have value as much as theirs so common courtesy and being open to hearing their thoughts, even being mindful in the moment to inquire on a point can allow for an actual dialogue to occur.
So where is this heading? If you ever find that there is one person dominating a conversation then let’s call a spade a spade, this would be a one-sided rant. I would like to see in an improved mindset where we have the skills and respect to be understanding and open to new viewpoints. May I specify here, we don’t need to agree, but we do need to understand.
Yes we may all come to our own conclusions on a topic through experience or research but let’s be honest, none of us are perfect and we don’t know everything.
It isn’t hard to allow someone a voice and try to understand their position which can lead to lead to an opening to where we are able to provide and offer our own take on things.
“Yes, I can see why you see/do things that way. May I offer another option that is based on your thought process?”
We all want to be heard and validated. So what goes around will come around. If you want to be heard, then you first need to listen and even inquire. Insight is not about answers, it is a respectful interest into others perceptions which can lead towards a greater understanding. This type of insight is collaborative and therefore greater than the sum of its parts.
So don’t expect to have others agree with you, but do work to be understood. This is a skill that can only improve not just our work and client relationships but also the ones that really count… Family and friends.