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By: Dr. Gwen Smith


It seems that as far back as I can remember, I had an uncanny sense of understanding others’ perspectives. I remember even as a little girl, understanding clearly where both sides were coming from during an argument.


It seems like it was so simple to see, and I could never understand why people were fussing. At times, they seemed to have been saying the exact same thing, expressed in different ways, and if they only stopped long enough to listen, the strife would surely cease.


As a business owner, you may not be striving with your customers, at least that’s what I’m hoping. But sometimes, you may come away with a completely different experience than the facts of the scenario you were participating in.


Keen listening is key to understanding what’s said. And even more important is paying attention to how you choose to interpret what was said, and how you react to it. I call this reacting to your stories.


This choice could make the difference with your success in interacting professionally, personally and with your clients.


Reacting to stories are sure ways of ruining your credibility when the stakes are high enough for you, and when the way you are perceived makes a difference in the opportunities that come your way.


Listen to the Facebook Live video as I outline some key factors to pay attention to, that will not just benefit you in your business experiences, but certainly also in your life.


So how do you distinguish between facts and your stories?


Pay attention to what you see and what you hear. Then, state your experience, like a video recorder playing back what was captured. That’s it.


The minute you start making a comment mean something else other than what was said, you’re trodding on slippery ground, and stand a great chance of ruining relationships.


To avoid this, ask clarifying questions: “What did you mean when you said…” Or, “I’m understanding that you mean… . Am I interpreting you correctly?”


Then listen clearly, without judgments or insisting that that’s not what the person meant. How could you know that better than the person expressing the thought or frustration anyway? You simply can’t. So listen and accept.


Pulling inferences from conversations can be good if used with caution. Always check in with the communicator to ensure that you’ve captured the right meanings. This will, I’m confident help preserve your credibility as you conduct your business and go about living your life.


We often make meaning of the things that we see. In fact we’re even taught to do that in school: to make inferences, right?


But understanding that it’s not a good idea to apply to your interactions with others, unless you’re willing to ask clarifying questions, will offset negativity and disempowering feelings that may arise as a result. This is gold, and will likely help your business transactions, your clients and your relationships to seem more pleasant to you.


Keep this in mind the next time you find a conversation heating up and see if you can spot where the story began to be created and intercept the stories with these tips.


Please leave us your comments below!


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