People are people or so the saying goes. We have similar traits, wants, needs and desires. As people we all want to be loved, we want someone to love us, we need something to do and a place where we can add value. The challenge in dealing with people is that no matter how similar we are as humans each person is an individual, and it is our individuality that makes dealing with us very complicated.
Not everyone wears their individual self on their face. Some people are quiet and reserved and listen more than they talk. To understand what they are thinking or feeling you have to listen very carefully and ask open ended questions. Others share their individuality the minute they open their mouth. They wear their emotions like a garment and they change their garments multiple times a day. And still others are some combination of these two and share and don’t share depending upon the people who are in the room.
So how do you find out what is important to people beyond their basic human needs. It’s rather simple, so simple that most of us miss it. First you ask open ended questions, second you listen. And you don’t just listen to what you want to hear or just until it is your turn to talk, you listen to understand and know what is near and dear to their hearts. I have learned over the years that people will tell you a great deal about themselves if you simply listen. This also requires that you shut your own mouth so they can talk. No one learned much about anyone else while they were talking.
Sounds simple, and yet it is a dying skill. Too much technology, too much to do, too much information to be able to process it all, and too much focus on ourselves to be able to stop and REALLY listen to someone else. And yet we all go to the good listeners when we need to talk, and we do that because they listen. The unique and individual things about each of us are worthy of the time and energy someone needs to listen. Today your mission is to be a good listener and identify the wonderfully unique things about the people you encounter today.