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Saying Less May Mean More

by Kevin Eikenberry on April 18, 2012

Have you ever had a problem and needed to vent or just share what you were dealing with?

When you are in this situation, are you always necessarily looking for advice, input, or counsel?

If you are like most people, probably not.

So why is it that when people come to us with their problems or challenges, we feel the need to (and perhaps the pressure to) respond, solve, or advise?

be quietIf you want to help others in these situations, begin by simply listening.  This means all of the things you know about listening should take place: nodding, encouraging body language, and more. . .

. . . and . . .

closing your mouth.

Don’t feel that you must have a solution.

Don’t feel you have to respond.

Just . . . let . . . them . . . talk.

That might be all they need or want.

If you want to be more empathetic, start by just listening. After they have shared their thoughts and feelings completely, then you can ask if they want or need input.   Then you can ask followup questions.  Then you can see what else you can do to support them.

Often, there won’t be anything else they want or that you need to do. By being silent and just listening, you have given them exactly what they need.

And all of that comes after you are quiet.

So just be quiet. Your presence may be all they need.   Your acknowledgement may mean more than your answers.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Marcia Norman April 18, 2012 at 8:44 am

Coudn’t agree with you more Kevin.
Great post as always.


Greg Cooper April 18, 2012 at 9:51 am

Being in the real estate business there have been many clients who have needed to ‘talk’ over the past few years. Listening, sympathizing, advocating and ultimately suggesting a course of action has helped many clients in the emotional moment of their need to ‘talk.’ Too many agents just launch into some preset script which often doesn’t help the client and oh by the way diminishes their credibility in the process. LISTENING may be the most powerful tool in my arsenal today….and I practice it at every opportunity.


sachin kundu June 1, 2012 at 8:53 am

works…especially with women!


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