There are a couple of things I learned from the world of Improv. One is that your only job is to make your partner look brilliant. The other one is that everything that comes out of your partner’s mouth is brilliant. The idea is when you’re listening and working with each other, if you’re paying attention from the perspective of something that’s coming out of the other person’s mouth is something that I can use, something that I can participate with, something that I can connect to, it’s very different than looking for is he right? Is it accurate?
Here’s an example of where that comes into play. When you listen to a conversation from the yes and perspective instead of yes but, there’s nothing worse than saying, “Yes, but I think we should it this way.” Well, the real piece is to say,” Yes, and yes, I see how this is going to work, how this is going to play, what we can do with it and if we add this and add that.” The idea is to look at what’s positive and build upon it.
This is a lot like the idea we talked about before of setting the tone of the conversation. What’s important about that is when you’re interacting with somebody whether it’s a strategic planning session, whether it’s working with a client or whether it’s just talking to the kids, it’s important to be 100 percent focused and listening particularly for something that you can connect to because being listened to feels so much like being loved. People can scarcely tell the difference.