Can you pass the Listening to One test?
One of the biggest challenges most men speakers have is listening. Men…? Yes. Women are great listeners. If you want to learn how to master this quality, start with this simple exercise. If you practice this with the one you have every day speech with, it will enhance your ability with your speech to thousands.
When we talk to ten or thousands, it is good to connect with your audience. Don’t start you're speech until your behind the lectern. Start by learning the art of listening to one person.
Get out and meet them prior to the speech. Find out what issues they face. What they think. What they are concerned with. Who they are. Don't just hear the words, look for the real message they hope to communicate. Learn the art of listening to one..don’t speak.
This listening can be mastered if we start learning to listen to one, the one we love. Start learning at home.
Let us go on with our exercise. If you master this, I guarantee you will use it the rest of your life because it is so powerful. As a matter of fact, if you’re a guy, your wife will probably walk away saying you’re the most sexy man on the earth.
The acronym for what were going to learn is P.E.V.R.
It stands for pause, empathize, validate, resume. It came from a TIVO commercial. It seemed quite humorous. Yet it is one of the most powerful tools to use to learn to listen to one.
It works great for men. It also works for women. Here’s how it works.
You're watching a football game. Your wife comes in during a commercial and says those fateful word that send a chill of fear up the spine of the bravest of men. She says, “Honey...” Of course when she says that word, you know what is coming from her next.
A biological process starts within most male bodies. You see, within our male DNA is a scripting. I call it the “Knight in Shining Armor” gene and it forces us to want to do something. It causes a biological need for us to come to the rescue of the damsel in distress, our mate. We cannot help it. It is who and what we are. We accomplish this by attempting to solve what ever problem they come to us with.
Of course there is an equal and opposite force wanting to watch the football game too.
Here’s a revelation...You don’t have to rescue them. All you have to do is P.E.V.R. This is the essence of listening to one person.
P of P.E.V.R. is for Pause. Pause…stop what ever you're doing. It shouldn’t take more than 15 seconds. With few exceptions (like when the Short Stop for the Washington Senators single handedly got 3 men out when I was a kid) there is no play or commercial that will be more important than the person you will spend the rest of your life with. You will probably not remember it any way. And if it is great, you will get to see the repay.
After you pause, then listen, really listen to what she (or he) says. Here is where true self control comes in. Not just in listening to what is being said, but in not solving the problem. Resist all desire to come to her rescue, except of course for some emergency like broken water pipes, black smoke and flames coming from under the car hood for some unknown reason and the like.
After you pause, and do nothing but listen, you're are ready for the next step. E in P.E.V.R. is for Empathize. It is quite simple. Just say, “I’m sorry.” This is where you need to use the speech quality of pace, pitch, and power.
It needs to be slow, soft, and gentle like you're trying to talk in front of a candle with out blowing it out. Not, I’m sorry, can I get back to my game now. Or is that all?
You have paused to really listen, you empathized by saying, "I'm sorry. "Now you're ready to use the V of P.E.V.R. and validate. Validate should not be confused with minimize.
All you have to do is say, "You're having a really bad day today." "Things just keep slapping you down." Just think of it as she is having a bad hair day and there is nothing wrong with her hair.
In listening to one, to what she is saying, you also listened to what she wasn’t saying verbally. She was trying to communicate she just wanted someone to listen. She just wanted someone to hear her. To understand. To empathize. To validate. Not to solve her problem.
Finally, the R of P.E.V.R. It stands for resume. Go back to you're game. Resume what ever you were doing.
When you try this, and see how it works, please share your comments on the blog to encourage others to use it. Encourage listening to one to others.
Women, this works for you too. One of the challenges women face within their relationship with men is respecting them. Love is not a problem. When you stop what ever you're doing and apply PEVR to him, he will grow in his love for you.
Secondary application: I was at a trade show for contractors. I met the presenter for my favorite power tools. He was also the sales rep. The conversation soon turned to sharing my problem with the plugs on many of my tools failing and needing to be replaced.
His speech on the subject of the tool was based on his perception of the tool and not my perception as an end user. His bias made it impossible to listen to my concern. He said, "We have never had a complaint about that." That was not true. What was I doing right now.
I doubt my concern ever made it to management. However, their competitor did listen, beefed up the cords and got my business.
It would only be fair to say there is not such thing as a 50 cent fix in industry. A few thousand dollars to design a new plug followed by testing and the UL test which costs tens of thousands of dollars. Then build a mold to make it, another 30 thousand dollars. Train staff in new procedures to get it installed.
It can cost in excess of a hundred thousand to get one plug made. It would then take 200 thousand units of sale to get the cost down to 50 cents. Failure in their case cost them a large percentage of the market as they were supplanted by the manufacturer of the beefier cord.
Yet all this was lost for the cost of listening to one customer.