Thinking from the other persons perspective is a regular discussion point in my coaching sessions.
Looking, thinking and feeling through the eyes of another person, comes easier to those that have been taught at a very young age, to notice those around them how they feel and think about experiences with people. More importantly those of us who had our feelings validated by our parents or guardians when younger will have an even bigger advantage as our empathy has been taught from deep personal experience. Thus teaching us how to feel ones emotions, gives us an advantage to think from some else’s perspective more naturally.
The skill of thinking from the others persons perspective is such a powerful tool. The exciting news is that it can be coached.
Experience tells me though over 75% of you reading this won’t think you have an issue with this subject. One test is to see whether you are a trained listener and can repeat most of what was said back from the other person and give an accurate gauge on how they felt about the conversation out of 10. Most clients I coach initially generally fail in one or both of these 2 areas.
I’ve always encouraged my clients that most conversations should start from the other persons perspective not yours. This will give you a sizeable advantage when it comes to discussing your opinions and views that are tailored to the eyes of the person you are in discussion with. This will lead to a more cooperative conversation that leads to faster and more impactful outcomes.
I like to begin conversations with the following structure post the rapport building stage;
Start with context of where previous conversations are up too. If there are new parties now joining the conversation, begin with “ would it be ok if I can give a summary of where we are up too so far in our previous discussions”.. or “ James are you aware of what our previous discussions have been, would you like me to update you”
Then build an agenda with them. Maybe don’t even call it an agenda, rather a list of discussion points. “ James based on our previous discussions, what would you like to cover off in today’s conversation… and John what about you”
Write down what the other party wants you to discuss, but write it down in the order you want to discuss it. Ie Your fees would be last. “So what I’m hearing is that John you want to cover off on a,b,c and James d,e,f). Writing it down shows that their words are important. Have you ever felt with a waitress that try to remember your order and forgotten it? Frustrating right. Even if they remember it you sit waiting for your meal thinking they will forget and have a poor experience anyway:).
Then add to this list what you want to cover off. “James and John would you also mind if we cover off on h,I,j”. Anything that you want to discuss add to this list that would naturally blend well around what they want to talk about.
Show your client the list then begin ticking off each item as you cover it off. The goal is to get a page full of ticks. This is a visual receipt that I use as a way to confirm a pathway forward. For those in sales , use it as a closing tool. Or even should be sent on email straight after a meeting summarising what was discussed from their options then yours, with a clear call to action for next steps.
When talking through each topic alway begin by delving into the other persons perspective first. A rookie error is leaping straight into your perspective. An old mentor of mine said “Dan avoid PREMATURE ELABORATION:)” For Real Estate agents pricing a home you might ask a question like “ James and John when you bought this home how did you come up with the price you paid” The story of how they came up with a price, can help them understand your methodology of how price comes about for theirs. Or if you want to know how to see value from their perspective or what they are going to base their decision on a question like “Do you think your home is worth the same price no matter who you sell it through or does it change based on the agency you pick? What do they do differently?”
Deliver your opinion by linking it to theirs . This allows them to see that you have validated their opinion and gives your opinion a better chance of been trusted. “ James based on what your said about how you bought your home, I agree I believe we have to approach it this way”. Even if you want to push back on their option, you can do this but you must notice and verbalise how you understood theirs. I’ve always believed that people don’t buy because they understand what your selling or saying, they buy because they feel understood.
Once opinion is delivered ask them open question that goes after their gut feel. Questions like “John how does that make you feel, or James talk me through whether you are comfortable with that”. Avoid closed questions like “do you understand?” This may not only make them feel obliged to say yes, to not feel dumb or want to conflict with you but instigates a yes or no answer only.
Validation is our deepest human need. So never forget these questions that most are asking in conversation with you.
Did you hear me? Did you see me? Did what I say mean anything to you?