Would you like to be more respected and get ahead? The secret to holding good conversations: ask questions, and listen!

Whether you are a candidate seeking a job, an aspiring ‘up-and-comer’ employee, or the CEO of a company, you must be respected to get ahead. If you want to be respected, listen. Too many people, including myself at times, listen superficially if at all. How mad do you get when you are talking to someone and they aren’t listening?  I get madder still when someone asks me a question and then, doesn’t listen to the answer. You have a much better chance of being respected if you are good at holding meaningful and genuine conversations. To hold genuine conversations, you must ask good questions and be an effective listener. Experts believe, asking questions and listening are the secrets to getting ahead. I know it sounds cliché to be a good listener, but read on for two tips that will help you succeed:

Early in my career, I worked at the Xerox Corp. They extensively trained us in a technique designed to advance our business relationships and get ahead.  The training taught us to ask questions in a framework Xerox named “SPIN.” The idea is to start with superficial questions that lead to deeper probing questions as your conversation progresses. Start with “Situation” questions, move to “Problem” questions, then to “Implication” questions, and finish with “Needs Pay Off” questions. A great resource is a book called “SPIN Selling” by Neal Rackman. https://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selling-Neil-Rackham/dp/0070511136/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3RHL147ORAR8K&dchild=1&keywords=spin+selling+by+neil+rackham&qid=1609676834&sprefix=spin+selling+%2Caps%2C159&sr=8-1

The point is, being successful in conversation is all about your questions.  You can’t hold meaningful conversations if you don’t ask questions. Not one question, but a series of questions that provide a path to deep connection.

I ran across a listening lesson while reading a leadership book by Dr. Snajiv Chopra. It said, to listen effectively, listen with your heart…not your ears.  Try getting into the heart of the person you are talking to.  What are the emotions underlying the person’s words?  What is he/she really trying to tell me? How does this conversation affect this person?  What body language or other vibes is this person sending to me?

If you listen with your heart and not your ears, you will naturally show empathy and be curious enough to ask deeper questions and listen to the answers.  In this way, you will be more respected, and that will help you succeed.