At a dinner gathering, Friday night…
New friend: I watch Good Life Project, it’s amazing.
Me: Thanks, I just ask questions, the guests make it what it is. They’re incredible people.
New Friend: That’s not really true. You ask great questions, that’s a big part of if and that’s not easy to do.
Me: Questions are easy. Listening is hard.
New Friend: Hmmm…
When you listen deeply, the right questions come naturally. Hearts open. Stories tumble. Conversations soar. Magic happens.
The reason behind this is a bit sad. People are so rarely seen and heard these days—on a true-nature level—that when you give them the gift of sustained attention, it’s like removing a source of deep pain. The world outside ceases to exist.
Next-level ideas, needs, insights, stories and revelations come out. And, if you’re paying attention, it’s impossible to not want to know more. So you ask questions out of a genuine sense of curiosity. And the conversation goes places that’d never have been visited had you stayed “on-script.”
This is as true in a business or sales setting as it is in life. I began to cultivate this skill taking depositions in a past life as a newbie S.E.C. enforcement attorney.
The few times I’ve felt interviews go off the rails, it’s because I’ve lost focus. I’m no longer there, stuck in “I need to look good so I’m gonna pretend to listen while actually fabricating my next blockbuster question” land.
When you check out, people know. And the possibility of sublime moments and deep connections evaporates.
If you’re going to develop one transformative skill, make it sustained-attention or presence.
It will trump the benefits of nearly any other ability.
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