Dunn’s inspiration originates from her sister, a special-education school teacher at an elementary school. Dunn’s sister observes, ““Some need a box of tissues, or they want to talk about a problem on the bus, and I’ll just listen.”
You might think that this question works best with school-aged children. But Dunn says, “It struck me that this question could be just as effective for adults.”
How often do you vent to a trusted colleague, friend or family member and all you want is to be heard, or maybe even hugged? In fact the last thing you want is advice!
The next time you are in the position to listen to your friend, family member or colleague think about these 3 “H” options: Helped. Heard. Hugged.
➜ By asking them this one question: “Do you want to be helped, heard or hugged?” you will then know how to navigate the conversation.
My best bet: you’ll be a great listener without providing any solutions unless solicited.
“You’ve run a very popular and expensive restaurant – that has your name on the door – for over 16 years… and it’s a competitive market here in Dallas. What do you attribute your success to?” asks the Dallas Morning News food editor to Dean Fearing.
Dean replies, “There are 3 components. First, consistency. We serve great food every day. Second, personability. I decided that I’d greet our customers at every table on a daily basis. I’ve done this from day one. Third, a great wait staff. We have a wonderful team at Fearing’s Restaurant.”
The parallels between Fearing’s top rated restaurant and 5-star communication skills
Consistency. Just like the expectations you have for a fine meal when entering a fine dining establishment, your team/board/stake holders expect you to communicate compelling content with clarity and confidence on a consistent basis.
Personability. You do business with people you know, like and trust. Let’s drill down on the word “like”. Be likeable, like Dean Fearing. Communicate with respect, listen with genuine interest and create an atmosphere of good will.
Leadership. Whether you run a billion dollar organization or you’re a solopreneur, you and your company represent and communicate your brand.
Once a year my daughter and I have an all-day spa date and one year we went to the Ritz Carlton. We began our day having lunch at their restaurant, Fearing’s. As we ate our delicious lunch, guess who came over to chat? Chef Fearing.
“You have a superpower that you might not know about: the power to make another person glow,” reports Stephanie Harrison, happiness and well-being expert, in a study she conducted.
Her study finds that we underestimate how happy someone feels after recognition.
3 phrases that pack a positive punch
“You are making a difference.”
Don’t think, “That’s cheesy.”
Do ask yourself, “How can I encourage others in micro or macro ways?”
“Did you see how that team leader proudly walked out with a huge smile? You are making a difference.”
“The money you raised at our silent auction will help fund our museum awareness campaign. You are making a difference.”
“You inspire me.”
Ask yourself, “Who has inspired me lately?”
Harrison provides this helpful script:
“You inspire me …”
Then add the reason why: “… in the way you show up for your team…”
Finally, share the impact it has had: “… and it’s made me think about how I can be more collaborative.”
Barbara Franklin’s Art Show
“Barbara, you inspire me. You’ve embraced your passion as an artist and now you’re exhibiting at art shows. It makes me think about how I can continue to sharpen and share my passion for speaking.”
“Tell me more about that.”
Disclaimer: It’s one of my favorite phrases that I’ve blogged about before. Saying these words make you a better listener which makes you a better communicator.
Harrison adds, “Being listened to helps people feel safe, supported and acknowledged. One thing that’s guaranteed to make someone’s day: asking them to tell you more about their interests, feelings and experiences.”
To create space for others to open up Harrison suggests:
Find out what is important to them: “What do you do that’s meaningful to you?
Ask them to elaborate on their experience: “What did it feel like when you heard you’d won the deal?”
Invite them to go deeper: “Tell me more about how you interpreted that feedback.”
Emerging from the pandemic might create socially awkward moments. Use these phrases to ease your anxiety and increase your authentic conversational good will with others.
Harrison shows, “There’s a bonus in store for you: It doesn’t just make the other person glow; it ends up making you glow, too.”
A client bought a new mattress and decided to take part in the mattress company’s focus group about the experience.
“Why did you buy this mattress?”, they asked. Reasonable question! My client answered, “I moved.” What she did not say was that she moved due to a relationship break up.
“How did you feel about the price of the mattress?”, they asked. Reasonable question! My client answered, “It was a fair price.” What she did not say was that she knew someone at the mattress company that extended an employee discount.
You never hear the whole truth.
The unsaid answers that my client did not share would have given more accurate information.
How can you glean more transparent data at exit interviews, strategic meetings, and annual reviews? OR… any day/time of the week?!
Listen between the lines.
The most effective communicators know how to use every tool at their disposal.
Ask questions and go three deep. Explore beyond the first answer given.
Observe nonverbal behavior. Look at gestures, stance, tone of voice.
Have an approachable attitude. Be present and focused on the other.
Smile. Always a good idea (but you don’t need to grin like the village idiot).
Use good eye contact. Be inclusive and look at everyone if there is more than one person involved.
You may still not hear the whole truth; but you’ll net a more transparent interaction.