True listening

From Michael P. Nichols, in The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning To Listen Can Improve Relationships:

There’s a big difference between showing interest and really taking interest.




From FirstRound Capital:

While there’s no magical advice that can turn you into a stellar founder or CEO, there’s one litmus test Sutton recommends for managers to determine whether they are good at their jobs:

“After people talk to you, do they come away with more or less energy?”

This is something you can ask members of your team, or simply observe in many cases. It’s a simple “yes” or “no.”

How to view rejection

From If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren’t ambitious enough by Chris Dixon:

One of the great things about looking for a job is that your “payoff” is almost always a max function (the best of all attempts), not an average. This is also generally true for raising VC financing, doing bizdev partnerships, hiring programmers, finding good advisors/mentors, even blogging and marketing.  I probably got rejected by someone once a day last week alone. In one case a friend who tried to help called me to console me. He seemed surprised when I told him: “no worries – this is a daily occurrence – we’ll just keep trying.”  If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren’t ambitious enough.

On which Nivi commented:

People that reject me are doing me a favor. They’re not rejecting me or my product. They’re rejecting the combination of me and them together. They’re telling me we would have a bad relationship. And they’re probably right.

Asking questions to build relationships

From Starting Anew by Apple SVP Retail Angela Ahrendts:

My father used to always say, “Ask questions, don’t make assumptions.” Questions invite conversations, stimulate thinking, break down barriers, create positive energy and show your willingness to understand and learn. Questions show humility, acknowledgement and respect for the past, and give you greater insights into both the business and individuals.

How to have more valuable and rewarding conversations with people

Edited excerpt from 10 ways to have a better conversation by Celeste Headlee:

I’d like to teach you how to talk and how to listen. A lot of advice on this, like “look, nod and smile to show that you’re paying attention”, “repeat back what you just heard or summarize it”, is crap. There is no reason to learn how to show you’re paying attention if you are in fact paying attention. I have 10 basic rules:

1. Don’t multitask. And I don’t just mean set down your cell phone or your tablet. I mean, be present.

2. Don’t pontificate. Enter every conversation assuming that you have something to learn. The famed therapist M. Scott Peck said that true listening requires a setting aside of oneself.

3. Use open-ended questions. Start your questions with who, what, when, where, why or how.

4. Go with the flow. Thoughts will come into your mind and you need to let them go out of your mind.

5. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know.

6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. It’s not the same. It is never the same. All experiences are individual. And, more importantly, it is not about you.

7. Try not to repeat yourself. It’s condescending, really boring, and we tend to do it a lot. Especially in work conversations or in conversations with our kids.

8. Stay out of the weeds. Frankly, people don’t care about all those details. What they care about is you, what you’re like, what you have in common.

9. Listen. Listening is perhaps the number one most important skill that you could develop. Buddha said, and I’m paraphrasing, “If your mouth is open, you’re not learning.” And Calvin Coolidge said, “No man ever listened his way out of a job.”

10. Be brief. My sister says “A good conversation is like a miniskirt; short enough to retain interest, but long enough to cover the subject.”

All of this boils down to the same basic concept: Be interested in other people.