Seek first to understand – Redux

I’ve written about this before (here and here), but it’s so pervasive in my meetings with clients and vendors that I feel compelled to write again!

When someone asks you a question, before you answer it, do two things:

  1. Wait until the person asking the question is completely finished before answering.
  2. Paraphrase the question and repeat it back to the person who asked, to ensure you understand what you’re asking.

Too often in meetings I will listen to two people have a conversation that started with a question that was not understood by the person being asked. The result is a lot of round and round, which is not only a waste of time for everyone, but can also lead the discussion to unnecessary tangents.

So before you answer a question, seek first to understand. It might save you a lot of time and headaches.

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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