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  • Writer's pictureDavid Brady

Shut Up And Listen

When you are trying to solve a problem it's helpful to know what the problem is. The only way I have found to do that is by investigating and listing to people closest to the issue. As an outside bystander you can be uniquely qualified to see through or past some of the issues that can obscure an equitable solution. Historically this outsiders perspective has been what has helped so many enterprises and people move forward instead of staying stalled unable to move past perceived limits. So how do we maintain that bystander or outsider perspective, by being curious and listening. You can't come to a problem trying to prescribe a solution before you know all of the nuances of the issues and who is affected by them. This is a time when real authentic listening skills are needed. You may need to speak with more that one person about the issue, regardless you will need to listen intently and ask questions so to better understand the person or people involved. Listing also serves to make the people involved feel truly heard and builds trust. What has work for me in the past has been to be less prescriptive and more collaborative. I like to use terms that help frame a solution as optional, i.e. what has worked for myself and others in the past is X. In most cases people are less likely to take the advice from people that they have little emotion investment with. When you share what has worked for you or others in the past you will be coming from a place of honesty and honesty builds trust. To coin an old phrase, "you have two ears and only one mouth so, listen twice as much as you speak".

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