Communication Skills Hints


Effects of Not Listening
July 29, 2011, 2:22 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

As a semi-retiree who tries to keep track of the markets, I have been a regular CNBC watcher. At first I enjoyed Rick Santelli.  His rants and independent thinking added some life to shows which could be somewhat mundane at times—I am sure this is the goal of the producers.  As time has gone by, I found that I listen less and less to what he has to say even though I continue to respect his views and it usually louder than the normal stream of discussion.  As I have analyzed this change, I can see that a major factor is that he doesn’t listen to anyone else. His unique viewpoint is just that, unique.  He rejects any other viewpoint without consideration of them.  The first point of this observation is that we tend not to listen to people who don’t listen back or listen to others. We see their views as underdeveloped because it only recognizes their own perspective. If we want our views respected, we need to respect, listen to, and try to understand the views of others. Active listening both allows us to expand our own understanding and to better influence others.  This leads to a second point, that we are limited in our ability to influence others when we don’t understand their viewpoints. This is apparent even on the show, as others apparently readily blow off his views.   A third point is that the absolute certainty of ones convictions doesn’t make us right except from our own viewpoint. Our own viewpoint becomes more and more unique as we fail to listen and respect other perspectives. I have several blogs on the evils of absolute certainty.

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When is Win-Win a Win
July 8, 2011, 1:02 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

My previous blogs addressed conflicts where the importance of the conflict issue and the significance of the relationship were both small.  On the opposite end of the spectrum are situations where the relationships are very important and the importance of the issue is also very important.  This is the time for a win-win approach to conflict resolution.  In business, this situation often occurs at the start of project or a critical juncture.  In personal life, this could the purchase of a new home or a retirement decision.  These are all decisions that should made after lengthy evaluation of pros and cons, leading to an optimum solution.  

What are the trade-offs?  Clearly the positive is achieving the best possible solution based on the available information.  The negative is equally apparent.  It takes a lot of effort and possibly stress to get there.  A great current example is the deficit reduction inWashington.  Congressmen scramble to both achieve their goals but also retain some semblance of relationship with opponents. 

 People tend to lean towards one conflict resolution approach.  The clear danger of being oriented towards win-win situations is the tendency to waste time achieving an optimum solution where the problem may not significant. In most cases, a quick solution with a limited effort and a reasonable benefit may provide the best solution.