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Seek first to understand
25 March 2015, by , in Random Thoughts, No comments

One of the most important skills I’ve learned in my 15 years as a consultant is the ability to listen. And one of the best ways to ensure that you are listening is simply this: when you’re in a conversation where you’re trying to learn something, let the other person finish their thought before you start talking.

I don’t know if it’s because everyone is in a rush these days, or that people are just trying to show how smart they are, but it’s amazing to me how often I see listeners interrupt a speaker in order to finish their thought or answer their question before the speaker has had a chance to finish. And of course, as often as not, the interrupter is answering a question that wasn’t going to be asked, thus wasting everyone’s time and requiring the original speaker to speak even more!

One of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is “Seek first to understand.”  My advice to you when you’re speaking with someone: let the other speaker finish their thought before you respond. You might just learn something!

 

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“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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