Is it possible that whatever anyone says, they are talking about themselves? Perhaps the “subject” they are talking about is not about them (that’s what they think) but the way they relate their words paints a picture for us of them, not just the subject of their speech. After all, the words come from them, their mouths, their thoughts; how could they not be talking about themselves?
Now that you consider the possibility that everyone is always talking about themselves, how can we put this into play? Well, the way that they relate the story tells us volumes about them.
Listen Beyond the Words
As I listen to someone tell me a story, they choose each word. As they string their words together, they say them with a certain inflection, a certain way, a certain tone, a certain volume. Each word uttered falls after a word and before a word. How they space their words is something to pay attention to. Also, they say each word with a certain energy.
All these little details make up a symphony which plays out as them, their relationships with each word, each phrase, each sentence and each paragraph. As you listen to the melody, you can start to get a feel for their preferences.
If they mention someone’s name, chances are that they say it with a tone, a chop, a drawn out effect and each nuance tells you something about how they feel about that person.
When I meet a person for the first time, I ask their name. I listen very carefully to how they say their name and I try to use their name exactly the way that they did. This will help them like me more; this is the formation of rapport. I’ve never introduced myself as Brian Dale, using my middle name. Growing up, if I heard that, I knew I was in trouble. Most people say their names as they wish to hear them…simple and useful to know.
Quickly Decipher Preferences
Another way you can listen is to hear the amount of energy a person puts into the words they are using. If someone says, “I love football!” in an excited, open way, chances are that they love football. If they say, “I love football” in a falling off voice, and combine it with a rolling of their eyes, you probably get that they do not love football and that they’re being sarcastic. In this way, simply by noting their energy, and the ways they put it into use and with the enunciation of their words, you can quickly decipher their preferences.
Listening carefully, you will start to note congruency. When people tell you something that they don’t believe, it will come out in their speech. You have heard this before, in fact, this is something that most of us listen to as we seek to find out if a person is honest or not.
Begin by listening to the energy that they put into words. The more energy, the most passion, the more emotion. As you listen for energy, you will be amazed at how much more people are telling you about themselves.
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Brian Vincent has over 30 years of experience as a business law attorney and has worked extensively with business owners to protect and defend their interests. Contact Brian online or at (616) 608-4440 with your questions.