With so much uncertainty in the world, helping others to find clarity and confidence in their next steps is more challenging than ever. This emotion-charged reality means that it is our responsibility to tread particularly carefully in our conversations with others.
All 3 steps are essential and their sequencing is important too. Curiosity earns you the right to be empathetic and empathy earns you the right to ask. Your job is to use your own emotional intelligence to blend the right proportion of these ingredients to deliver the results required.
Step 1: Create Curiosity
Ironically, if you show up to a conversation with certainty about the actions required you typically create increased uncertainty in the other person. Instead, remaining curious for long enough to allow the other person to truly explore their reality allows them AND you to gain clarity of their current circumstances.
In short – content without context is just noise – do the work to learn the full context of a situation first.
Step 2: Demonstrate Empathy
To influence others, all you can do is help them see things from a new perspective so that they change their own beliefs. Failure to truly see something from someone else’s point of view is almost guaranteed to create resistance. This means that your goal is to talk exclusively about their interests and not yours. The brilliant Jon Acuff describes empathy as “caring about, what the people you care about, care about.”
Do the work to trigger the ‘show me that you know me’ button in the subconscious of the other person.
Step 3: Utilize Courage
When I refer to courage, in this instance I am not talking about the courage required to go to war, climb a mountain or jump out of an airplane. In this context, we are looking for the courage to ask the difficult questions, peel back one more layer and get to the truth. This may be a direct invitation to take action, or the need for someone to look themselves in the mirror or perhaps even asking someone to consider the worst case scenario.
Put simply – If you do not ask, you will never know. Do the work to get to the truth.