A couple of weeks ago I went to see Marian Madonia speak during a Food for Thought presentation. She gave a speech titled, “Tell Me Something Good” and made some wonderful points, which I’ll highlight here.
She said people don’t leave their current jobs for more money and opportunity. She said that’s what they’re going to, not what they’re leaving. What they’re leaving is the real question.
Another point she made is that we can only control two things – what we think and what we do. Otherwise, we can only influence things.
She said in every situation there are five options: get by, get out, get info, get help or get going.
Her suggestion was to ask “What concerns you about this situation?”
The biggest take-away message for me was when she was giving suggestions for what you could say to someone if you felt under attack. The first one was to say, “you could be right,” but what really struck me was in the explanation of that she said to remember, “it’s not your job to prove someone wrong.” Wow. So simple, but so powerful. And very appropriate for me.
I sometimes have a need to make sure people understand something, even if it’s not a right/wrong situation – I want them to understand. How can they make an informed decision if they don’t understand everything? That’s the same sort of thing. So, I’ve adapted this to be that it’s not my job to make someone understand. Sometimes it would be much simpler to just accept that people don’t understand something and let it go. This seems to be especially true when it comes to technology things.
I often seem to be around people who mistakenly view me a technological wizard – that is not true, at all, even though I love technology. I always feel it’s my “job” to make people understand something so they can see how beneficial/useful/fun it would be for them. I’ve decided to adopt this concept that it’s not my job to make people understand. I think it will be easier of everyone concerned.
Her secret weapons included saying:
You could be right
Have you seen the new PT Cruiser (or something else off the wall)
Tell me more
I’ve never thought about it that way…I’ll have to consider it
I need some time to think about that, give me an example
She also said that when you’re dealing with people and they’re doing something you don’t like to remember that they are clueless about that and that it’s not about you – it’s about them. They’re doing what they’re doing because it serves them, not because it doesn’t serve you. It’s not your job to prove them wrong and curiousity is your best secret weapon.
She suggested asking lots of open ended questions. “What” and “how” are the most important of the 5Ws and H. She said to stay away from “why” because it feels like judgment.
Obviously, I came away with some things to think about.
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