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Tell What You Hear

One of my grad school professors who taught me about consulting used to love telling prospective clients, “It seems like you don’t need any help.” He said this was one of his most effective lines for getting people who claimed they were in great shape to open up about what was really troubling them.

People often need to hear their own words before they can understand their views or change their minds. I often find myself saying things like, “Let me make sure I understand.” Or, “Do I have it right, that you mean . . .”

Often when we fail to influence others or make the sale, it isn’t because we lacked the right argument. It’s because we failed to clarify what we heard.