Art of Listening

by Dr. Juan Diaz-Prinz

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    00:01 Hi and welcome to the art of listening.

    00:03 In this lecture, we're going to focus on one of the most central aspects of negotiation.

    00:09 Let's be clear without communication, there is no negotiation.

    00:14 And in order to communicate effectively we have to listen, but we know that people do not listen.

    00:21 They're so busy worried about what they're going to say to the other side.

    00:25 What are my arguments? I don't want to forget them, if I listen too much.

    00:31 I actually they might change my mind, I need to stay focused.

    00:36 We know when people are not really listening, information is left out when they pass it on or when they go back to their office and they did not listen carefully, they might actually change inadvertently the information.

    00:54 Most importantly they might forget something.

    00:58 In this lecture, you will learn the importance of listening.

    01:01 You will gain listening skills and you will make yourself better understood.

    01:07 You will be able to deal with different emotions that come up in a negotiation.

    01:13 Now, what are some of the benefits of listening? As I've mentioned before it is to improve the effectiveness of communication.

    01:21 Why? Because it improves your understanding.

    01:24 It lets us think about what Information are between the words that the other side cannot say it helps us to understand when a person is repeating themselves, What information is changing? And more importantly it helps us to do two things.

    01:42 Number one, identify where are possible areas of joint collaboration and number two, where are some pitfalls where people might actually be in danger of hurting the relationship.

    01:57 Now imagine your boss walks into the room and says, "hey in the meeting room right now." Now, what do you do in that moment? Well, if we want to be very good listeners, we think about what we call the four sides of the message or in some cases, we say we have to listen with four ears.

    02:21 Why? Because in every single message we receive or we send there are four different aspects that need to be considered.

    02:31 Number one, What does that say about the person? It seems this person might be a little agitated in a hurry, excited, we don't know because the sentence was very short.

    02:46 So we're gonna have to listen carefully when we arrive in the meeting room to figure out what is the situation for this person.

    02:56 In addition to that we have the second ear which has factual information.

    03:01 Actually. We do have a meeting room.

    03:03 It would be a little funny if somebody said, in the meeting room right now, and there was actually no meeting room.

    03:09 Therefore there are always some facts in every single message.

    03:16 Number three, It tells us a little bit about the relationship.

    03:21 The facts are that this is the supervisor but it also says a little bit about the relationship between the boss and the employee.

    03:29 Obviously, it's interdependent.

    03:31 It's positive, It's important becausethe person is saying, 'I need you right now'.

    03:38 And lastly with the fourth and final ear were looking at what we call the appeal.

    03:44 This person is saying, hey, I need you.

    03:48 Please help me and do it quickly.

    03:52 Now, you might be thinking, I didn't hear that in the message.

    03:55 I heard something completely different.

    03:57 Exactly! This is why you should be listening carefully and not rear your head and say, oh, he's always so excited or angry.

    04:07 Don't make any assumptions about what this person actually said.

    04:12 Get up, go to the meeting room, and open yourself up to listening.

    04:18 How do we improve our listening skills? Well, first of all, we want to recognize the other side by asking clarifying questions.

    04:27 We want to move away from having arguments to having dialogue.

    04:32 We want to refrain from criticizing or using cliches that are only going to get us into a conflict spiral and distort the messaging.

    04:42 We want to resist the urge to put thing down the other side.

    04:47 We want to make sure that we acknowledge the situation exactly how it is.

    04:53 So here are a few tips that you can do.

    04:56 Number one, don't interrupt the person, let them come to a complete end.

    05:02 Give them some visual cues that you are understanding them or you're not understanding them be aware that your facial expressions, your body language, actually conveys messages.

    05:14 I'd like to say right here and right now, there are a lot of studies about saying open yourself up or don't stand like this.

    05:21 You know what I have learned in my years of experience that that doesn't really help us.

    05:27 What is important is for you to be aware of the signals you're sending and how they're arriving at the other side.

    05:34 Make sure not to change the subject in the middle of a conversation because that might irritate the other side, ask them first.

    05:43 I know it's very difficult.

    05:45 But number four, try to resist rehearsing your next argument.

    05:51 I have learned in my experience that people actually will remember things when they are necessary.

    05:59 Avoid trying to teach or lecture the other side.

    06:03 And finally number six, don't give advice to people without them asking for it.

    06:10 Focus on your own interest and your own communication.

    06:15 I'd like to now turn to four different techniques which have been tried and tested throughout the last few years and best practices say these will help us improve our listening skills.

    06:28 Number one, we have what's called active listening.

    06:33 Active listening is simple old-fashioned listening being attentive, not judgmental, and not interrupting.

    06:42 But at the same time summarizing what we Heard to make sure that we understood what was being said.

    06:50 Asking clarifying questions the what, tell me a little bit more about what you mean.

    06:56 I'd like to understand you.

    06:58 How did you arrive at that situation.

    07:02 Help the person move from 'I cannot give it to you to' saying something like it's difficult to part with because I've been with it for 20 years.

    07:12 By all asking open questions, you arrive at a bigger and more deeper meaning of the understandings behind the communication.

    07:22 The next technique is called empathy.

    07:25 This is a form of active listening at a deeper level.

    07:30 It involves trying to understand what the person cannot say.

    07:35 They cannot bring themselves to saying it.

    07:39 They can just say you will not get away with that or they will say something like, You will not take this away from me.

    07:48 You will not survive without my successful contribution in this project.

    07:55 What the person is trying to say in these different formats is I want to be part of that project.

    08:02 I can be useful.

    08:04 I can serve a positive contribution.

    08:08 Deep listening requires us to actually put our perceptions and assumptions aside and look into the emotional understanding of the person and help them to recognize what they're unable to verbalize.

    08:24 A third technique we have is called looping.

    08:28 That's right, Looping.

    08:31 We listen to what the person said to us.

    08:34 Once it arrives at us.

    08:36 We process it in our brain and we Loop it back to them to make sure that we understood them.

    08:44 You must ask the other side, let me see if I understood you correctly.

    08:50 What is important to you our ABC.

    08:53 Can you do it shorter? You summarize what was said it maybe one or two sentences.

    08:59 And then you ask them did I understand you, and they will say yes or no, if they say no, that means you are not actively listening and you need to go deeper into the conversation.

    09:12 If they say yes, they've given you the mandate to respond effectively.

    09:18 The fourth mechanism or technique that we have is called reframing.

    09:23 Somebody will say to you, I will not work without a contract.

    09:26 I hate working mornings.

    09:28 You're shutting me out.

    09:30 I will never give it to you.

    09:33 Well, these are very confrontational very aggressive statements.

    09:37 We can choose to respond by raising walls and shutting ourselves out or we can change the conceptual and emotional understanding by reframing these sentences into a much more positive experience.

    09:52 Tell me, what I can do to give you more security in the absence of a contract.

    09:59 If I understood you correctly.

    10:01 You are more efficient in the afternoon than in the mornings, or hey, you want to be part of this project.

    10:11 I think it's important that we understand that people sometimes just react instinctually and that we can help them in the refraining.

    10:20 You will find the quite often when you positively refrain people bond in kind with positive words.

    10:28 So at this point you might be asking yourselves, well, I want to improve my skills, but I really don't know how I can make myself better understood for here are five simple ways you can do that.

    10:39 They're very simple.

    10:40 Number one, nobody likes chaotic communication.

    10:44 Make sure you focus your comments.

    10:48 Number two, in addition to focusing your comments in a logical way.

    10:53 Try to stay on the subject until it is complete.

    10:58 Number three, quite often we feel we need to repeat ourselves to get the message across but we know that most people already hear it the first time.

    11:09 Number four structure your respond so that you have the right priorities so that when you're done you have managed to cover all of the points you want it to cover.

    11:20 And lastly, and most importantly, don't stop halfway in your thought.

    11:25 Make sure to complete your thought with the fourth ear the appeal, what exactly do you want them to do? Now there are a couple of myths that go on about emotions and negotiations.

    11:40 First of all, that we should leave emotions outside of the room.

    11:44 We have to stay rational.

    11:46 We need to stay focused on interest and be problem-orientated.

    11:51 Well, what we know is that positive feelings strengthen communication and strengthen agreement.

    11:58 Interest are connected to our emotions, bad feelings block progress, good relationship support progress, and emotions escalate conflicts.

    12:08 Therefore it's important to understand how emotions impact on negotiation and might inadvertently escalate a conflict.

    12:17 We also know that people tend to get more emotional and more irritated if their authority is it put into question or challenged if all of a a sudden agreed rules are broken if they perceive to be insulted or if somebody did something that was culturally understood as rude, one thing that really irritates people is being misrepresented or the feeling of being accused.

    12:43 These will create several blocking emotions within us.

    12:48 For example, being misunderstood, fustrated, agitated, or distrustful, or being angry, or fearful or the feeling of contempt or embarrassment shame, pride, disappointment, all come into play.

    13:06 All of us have felt one of these emotions and made sure not to participate in negotiations once were feeling this way.

    13:15 What happens to us, we build walls around us to protect ourselves for fear that the other side is trying to provoke us into a conflict escalation.

    13:26 When you're in an emotional situation sit down and think through, why is this person feeling this way? And what can I do to actually understand the right feeling? Sometimes it only helps to say to the person if I were in your situation, I would also be frustrated.

    13:48 Or to ask the other side, So what are you afraid of, do you think there's something that we need to deal with? What to say to them something like is there a way we can build trust I see that the you still hesitant about the situation.

    14:06 Is there a way I can help you to save phase or I'm sorry I'm feeling a little ashamed going back with this little amount of concessions.

    14:17 Is there a way that we can increase the gains for everybody at the table, naming the emotion helps everybody at the table deal with it.

    14:28 Let's be clear strong emotions distract us.

    14:32 They do more harm than good.

    14:34 They generate a feeling of retaliation and in the end if we're not careful, it could lead to a stalemate, the party's going their own way, and in the end abandoning their own negotiation.

    14:48 However, dealing with emotion, improves the relationship, generates an atmosphere of trust and allows people to vent their annoyance in a constructive way.

    15:01 Here are four tips for dealing with the emotions.

    15:03 Number one, develop a constructive tone develop some guidelines on communication.

    15:10 How should it work? Should it be regular? What should we avoid in our communication that will actually escalate the conflict.

    15:18 Number two, build in cooling off periods where people can actually walk away recompose themselves and think through what did I actually want to say? Number three, ensure that there are safe spaces around the negotiation where people can maybe go and have side meetings and talk about what their fears are, without having to lose phase at the table.

    15:44 Number four, make sure that the process is building trust.

    15:49 If you're building trust, you will create an atmosphere where people will feel validated and non judged and will be more likely to talk about some of these emotions.

    16:00 Just remember, a good listener is able to communicate his or her interests and needs efficiently and meaningfully.

    16:10 In a way that makes others feel heard and understood without injury or insult.

    16:16 I hope that through this lecture you have understood the importance of listening.

    16:21 You've gained some listening skills along the way, you understand how to make yourself better understood and in the end if emotions come up in your communication, that you are able to deal with them.

    16:33 Thank you very much and good luck in your next communication.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Art of Listening by Dr. Juan Diaz-Prinz is from the course Negotiation Skills & Strategies (EN). It contains the following chapters:

    • Art of Listening
    • 4 Sides of a Message
    • Improving Listening Skills
    • Emotions and Negotiations

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Self-reflection
    2. Factual Information
    3. Relationship
    4. Appeal
    5. Telling
    1. It improves understanding.
    2. One can identify possible areas of cooperation.
    3. It can highlight dangers that can develop.
    4. New information can arise.
    5. It lets you tell your story.
    1. To understand the hidden meaning of things people cannot verbalise.
    2. To give people the feeling that they made their point.
    3. To feel sorry for the other side.
    4. To make the other side feel better.
    5. To show visibly you understand.
    1. Looping
    2. Empathy
    3. Active Listening
    4. Appreciative inquiry
    1. Stay focused on your comments.
    2. Structure your response.
    3. Complete your thoughts.
    4. Resist being repetitive.
    5. Confront the other side directly.
    1. Develop agreed guidelines for dialogue.
    2. Allow for cooling off periods.
    3. Create safe spaces.
    4. Generate trust-building measures.
    5. Confront anger and demand de-escalation.

    Author of lecture Art of Listening

    Dr. Juan Diaz-Prinz

    Dr. Juan Diaz-Prinz

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