Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Listen with Empathy

Have I been talking too much about resolutions? I know New Year's has come and gone, but it's still on my mind. There are a lot of things I'd like to do and change - including being more understanding of what motivates other people. This article from sales trainer Tony Alessandra is motivation to make just one more resolution.

"No matter how outrageous, inconsiderate, false, self-centered, or pompous the person you are talking to is, remember: He or she is simply trying to survive, just like you," says Alessandra. "We are all participating in the same physical and psychological struggle. Some of us just have better survival strategies than others. Thus, the obnoxious person deserves more pity than scorn. "The wounded deer leaps highest," Emily Dickinson wrote, and it is true."

"So listening with empathy means asking yourself, "Where is this person's anger coming from?" "What is he or she asking for?" "What can I do that's reasonable and supportive?" You are not everyone's shrink, and you do not have to carry the weight of the world on your back," continues Alessandra. "However, if you can think through what makes this person behave like this, perhaps you will be inclined to cut them a little slack."

Try Alessandra's advice the next time you're getting an earful from a difficult customer.

Tony Alessandra is a contributor to Top Dog Sales Secrets. He has authored 17 books translated into 49 foreign language editions, recorded over 50 audio/video programs, and delivered over 2,000 keynote speeches since 1976.

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