Master Effective Communication with Structured Listening and Reverse Narration

  George Bernard Shaw said: “The biggest problem with communication is that people take it for granted that they have communicated.”
  I couldn’t agree more with George Bernard Shaw’s words.
  Because we “said”, by default we have already communicated with the other party. As for whether the other party listened or understood, we don’t care. When listening, we rarely take the initiative to verify whether the information we hear is accurate and complete.
  Those recognized masters of communication have one thing in common: communication does not rely on talking, and people do not talk much. Because they know that talking eloquently will only push people away. Keeping your mouth shut and your ears up is the number one secret to making others want to communicate with you.
  Listening is the starting point of communication. If you cannot understand what the other party is saying, or even hear all the information provided by the other party, it is absolutely impossible to have truly effective communication. Therefore, we need to be a little patient and master communication methods starting from the most basic listening. Before formal study, let’s take a few test questions to test your listening ability:
  1. Suppose you are a new employee, and the leader suddenly calls you and asks: “Are you busy now?”
  Excuse me, leader What exactly does that mean? Does he want to inspect your work temporarily, or does he want to assign you new tasks?
  2. You have made a plan and need to ask your leader for a key decision. The leader didn’t say anything else. He just said without raising his head: “You decide.”
  Excuse me, can you decide this matter, or can’t you?
  3. You go on a blind date and the other person asks you: “You work in an Internet company. It must be hard to work overtime, right?”
  Is the other person concerned about you, or is he curious about the working conditions of the Internet company, or does he implicitly think you work too much overtime?
  These sentences are not long, and the literal meaning is very simple, but what do the speakers mean?
  In the first question, if you answer literally, I am busy with this or that, the leader will definitely think that he will ask, what do you mean if you say ten sentences? Don’t you want to take on new tasks? But if you directly answer “not busy, not busy”, that is not appropriate either. The leader may think that your workload is not saturated! It can be seen that the meaning of a sentence is not as simple as the literal meaning. What the leader really wants to ask is: Are you free to do something for me now? So in this scenario, you only have one correct response: “Boss, please tell me.”
  In the second question, whether the leader wants you to decide or not depends on the context. It depends on your workplace environment, the level of trust between you and your leader, and even the authority of your position. However, please note that the core point the leader is trying to make here is that you are solely responsible. The point is that if something goes wrong, you have to take full responsibility because he didn’t express his opinion on the plan, it was decided by you.
  In the third question, your date asks you if it is hard to work overtime. In fact, he is trying to understand whether you have time to allocate to an intimate relationship. How much time and affection are you willing to invest in this relationship? Once you understand this meaning, you will realize that to promote this relationship, you don’t need to talk about overtime at all. What you need to communicate with the other party is your own lifestyle and your vision for future life.
  I don’t know if you have noticed, but it is actually very difficult to fully understand the other person’s meaning from a sentence. You need to have basic social experience, the ability to judge the current context, and you need to hear the other person’s implication, especially the other person’s expectations.
  We should listen like a detective, paying full attention, digging out all the hidden clues and holding them in our hands.
  So, how to find clues? There is a very important method called structured listening.
structured listening

  Structured listening means that after receiving the information conveyed by the other party, you should habitually draw three boxes in your mind and put three things in them: the emotions, facts and expectations of the communication partner.
Box One: Emotions.

  Emotions are the outward expression of our inner feelings. Happiness, sadness, fear, anxiety, anger…are all emotions. But the other party usually does not directly say “I am angry” or “I am anxious”, but hides the emotion in words. This requires us to identify the emotions hidden in the other party’s language when listening, and to distinguish between facts and emotions.
  For example, “My boss always asks me to work overtime.” Is this a fact or an emotion?
  It’s emotion. The word “always” expresses only a subjective feeling, not a fact. When we express it this way, it is more or less exaggerated.
  What needs to be reminded is that once words like “always”, “always”, “every time”, “often” and “forever” appear, you can immediately tell yourself that the other person is venting their emotions. I call such words “emotional signpost words”.
  As soon as the “emotional landmark words” appear, you have to realize that the other party is not stating the facts, but venting their emotions. What you have to do at this time is not to argue with him about the truth, but to appease his emotions. Only when bad emotions are relieved first can both parties have a basis for communication.
Box 2: Facts.

  What are the facts? Is the information stated without emotion by the other party all facts? not necessarily. Just the opposite of emotions, we only say it is a fact when it expresses content that is not affected by subjective judgment and is verifiable and traceable.
  We can borrow the method of fact-checking from journalists and verify the following elements in the other party’s description: who (person), when (time), where (place), and what (event). If these four “W’s” can be used to restore the actual scene, then there is a high probability that what the other party said is the truth. On the contrary, if the other party is unclear on these elements and only starts from subjective inferences such as “I feel”, “I judge”, “I think”, etc., then the statement we hear is likely not to be true.
Box Three: Expectation.

  What are expectations? It’s about finding out what the other person really wants.
  Knowing emotions and facts, we need to combine the two to determine the other person’s expectations.
  Give a simple example. Suppose I am a customer service person and I receive a complaint call from a user saying that the product he received is damaged and he is very angry. How can I give feedback? Are you constantly apologizing to customers and saying, “Don’t be angry, don’t be anxious”? Obviously not. If you are carried away by the other person’s furious emotions, you won’t be able to understand what he really means. The more he told him, “Don’t be angry,” the more he added fuel to the fire, turning a complaint against the company into a personal vendetta.
  In fact, we should draw 3 boxes in our mind and put facts, emotions and expectations respectively:
  Fact: The other party received a damaged product.
  Mood: He is angry and anxious.
  Expectation: Exchange the product quickly, and preferably compensate for his losses.
  So, don’t get emotionally entangled with him. First, admit that he should not have experienced such an experience, then admit your mistake, apologize, and then follow up with: “I will reissue new products to you immediately, and send you a small gift at the same time, hoping to make up for your loss a little bit.” Loss.”
  After discovering the other person’s true expectations, we can respond appropriately.
reverse narrative

  Most of the time, as long as we sort out the facts and emotions, we can understand the other person’s expectations. But in some cases, the other party only said one or two sentences, and the information conveyed was very limited, making it difficult to discern his true inner intentions. At this time we need to use reverse narrative to dig out more information.
  The so-called “reverse narration” is to re-describe the information previously obtained through structured listening according to the logic of your own understanding, and ask the other party for confirmation.
  So, what are the specific operating methods when describing in reverse? You can follow these 3 steps.
Step One: Respond to Emotions.

  This is a “mining” step. The reason why we don’t know what the other party wants during communication is often because of emotional barriers. His emotions will affect his thinking and expression, thereby making it more difficult for us to listen. Therefore, we should eliminate interfering information in advance and deal with the “landmine” of emotions in advance.
  However, the emotions belong to the other party. Even if we recognize them, how can we help the other party separate them from communication?
  The simplest way is actually to point out and accept the other person’s emotions.
  The same applies to three- and four-year-old children. If your child loses control of his emotions and keeps crying and making fuss, you only need to ask him: “Are you angry or anxious now?” The child may calm down immediately. This is because at this moment he needs to switch states, examine and distinguish his emotions. And as long as he jumps out of his original state, he will be far away from the “emotional landmine”.
  What should be noted here is that never say “Don’t be angry, don’t be anxious.” Because this is denying the other person’s emotions. The other party will regard this denial as a denial of himself as a whole. Both children and adults get angrier.
  What you have to do is to point it out – “I know, you must be particularly anxious at this time” – and respond positively to the other person’s emotions. If the other person feels that his emotions are accepted by you, he will slowly return to a rational state.
  Just say this, don’t get entangled, and go to the second step immediately.
Step 2: Confirm the facts.

  Information mining is mainly completed in this step. We can first describe the facts we heard in our own words: “My understanding of the points you just mentioned is…I don’t know if my understanding is correct?”
  If it is correct, the other party will give you a positive confirmation. ; If it is incorrect, he will add more information.
  This is a general situation. But sometimes, we may not understand the message expressed by the other party at all. At this time, don’t escape, you can use a series of questioning techniques to pursue the question. For example: “Can you tell me more about it?” Or even be more sincere and say directly: “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand very well here. Can you tell me more about it?”
  Many people are afraid that the other party will I was impatient and embarrassed to ask. Indeed, the other person may be a little impatient in this situation. But please imagine, the consequence of asking is that he is a little impatient now, and the consequence of not asking is that you did something completely wrong. Which one do you choose?
  After obtaining information through questioning, enter the third step of reverse narrative.
Step 3: Define actions.

  The so-called “clear action” is to translate the other party’s expectations into action plans that can be implemented according to all the previous information, so that the other party can clearly feel that you have indeed understood what he meant, and planned out the plan according to his expectations. action road map. At this point, the reverse narrative is completed – the entire process of obtaining all the information and reassuring the other party.
  For a good listener, it is important to understand yourself; it is also important to convey the signals that you understand to the other party, so that the other party has a sense of control, so that both parties can reach a consensus through communication.

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