The One Question Everyone is Asking

Are you being heard? Are you hearing others? When I advise marketing clients, I ask them to put themselves in a potential customer’s shoes and ask this question. You, too, should ask it anytime you are speaking.

What's in it for me? What's in it for me? What's in it for me?

Others are constantly asking themselves that question as you talk. If you want to truly be heard, you must answer that question.

What is in it for you?

You already know the answer to that question when you are talking. More profit. Less hassle. A feeling of accomplishment. Those are all great things, except that no one else cares.

That is the cruel reality…and it is reality.

What you say: “We are launching a new training program.”

What they are thinking: “What’s in it for me?”

What you say: “Third Quarter profits are up 11%.”

What they are thinking: “What’s in it for me?”

What you say: “This brand new widget took seven years to develop.”

What they are thinking: “What’s in it for me?”

What you say: “I’ll be home at 6:00.”

What they are thinking: “What’s in it for me?” (OK, that might be a stretch, but it is entirely possible. Husbands, you might want to answer that question when you tell your wife when you will be home…trust me, it will go a long way.)

You’d better find the answer to that question or no one will hear you.

To be a better listener

Stop asking that question so often.

It’s a paradox. To be heard, you must assume that your audience is constantly asking that question. To hear, you must stop asking it so often.

In a recent Leadership Freak post, Dan Rockwell offers what he calls the Power listener’s one question:

What do they want me to know, feel, or believe?

In other words, “why are they telling me this?” (And not in a sarcastic way as though they are wasting your time)

If you want more tips on listening better, read my post. Why You Are a Bad Listener and How to Fix It. It covers the mechanics of listening better.

But ultimately, to be a better listener…or more aptly a better hearer, you must start by asking the right question.

What strategies do you use to communicate better? How can these questions help you?

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