Use Ears and Mouth Proportionately

Millions of people exercised their right to vote today. People got up early, rearranged their day, stood in line and made other small, or large, sacrifices to choose who will lead their community, state, and country.

While many see the right to vote as their greatest civic duty, others feel their vote doesn’t matter – “it’s not worth the effort, no one will listen anyway”, “politicians don’t listen, they only hear their own statements”, “nothing will change”.

How many clients have left law firms for similar reasons? Their concerns fell on deaf ears. No one noticed the warning signs of their discontent. All concerns were answered with “solution” statements rather than asking questions to discover their core concerns.

Developing Great Law means doubling the questions to statement ratio and that requires active and reverse listening when engaging with people:

  • Listen: remove distractions, focus intently, avoid interrupting
  • Question: use open-ended, closed, and why questions
  • Confirm: take notes, summarize take-aways
  • Resist temptation to answer a question based upon first reaction or assumption
  • Follow the question by asking clarifying questions to understand the interest or emotion behind the request
  • Use deference language
    • Help me understand…
    • Say more about that…
    • Do I understand your interest…
    • Why do you ask…

Stephen Covey states, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Everyone wants to be heard. Voters want their one voice to count. Clients want their interests to be understood and addressed. Make the choice to engage with those you want to hear and ensure that they feel listened to.