posted on October 23, 2006
Obviously active listening is an important networking skill. As an active listener it’s important to ask clarifying questions in an effort to truly understand your fellow networker.
I had an interesting experience last week that really brought this point home. In the course of our conversation we began talking about “achievement.” I’m very thankful that I asked what achievement meant to her. It turns out her definition was completely different from the one that I have in my head.
I think this is a male/female difference. It seems to me that both men and women have a range of emotions that closely resembles a box of Crayola Crayons. Speaking for myself I think most men only have the 8 basic colors, while women have the big box with 64 colors and a built-in sharpener.
I get this impression because when my wife asks me how something is at dinner I will often reply with: ok, fine, good, etc. which to me all mean more or less the same thing. Emily obviously has more crayons in her box, because each of these words means something different to her… I digress.
The point is, to truly understand someone and build a deeper relationship it’s important to know where they’re coming from. In this case, a simple difference in definition was the different between our coming to complete agreement and an otherwise so-so conversation. I never would have learned this had I not asked her to clarify what she meant when she said “achievement.”
For the record I stuffed this new “achievement” crayon into my limited box, because it was far superior to my previous definition.
Clarify your own communications by asking better clarifying questions.
Author: Scott Ingram