Mary says: “I think it’s important that we focus on stability.”
Taylor adds: “It’s also important that we focus on efficiency.”
Mary says: “There seems to be a lot of common ground.”
Mary walks away and focusses on stability. She has heard that Taylor agrees that is vitally important and assumes that he prioritises stability as well.
Taylor walks away and focusses on efficiency. He has heard that Mary agrees that it is vitally important and that she focusses on efficiency as well.
Two weeks later, disaster strikes when both discover that actually, there never was common ground. Mary wanted to hear that Taylor sees stability as important. She mistook the fact that Taylor didn’t disagree as support. The same is true the other way around.
We tend to hear what we want to hear. We prefer to hear what we said – rather than what the others said. Listening closer to what the others have actually said … and then taking it further to try and get them, to understand what the others have actually meant is a lot harder.
But it’s so much more worthwhile.