Every month I gather with a few members of our team and walk through some elements of Conversation and Emotional Intelligence. We take an hour to reflect on what’s worked well this past month and learn about a new area where we can grow as a team. In the previous twelve months these monthly sessions have fundamentally changed the way this team relates to one another and other teams in the company.
This month we were discussing the idea of “Double Clicking.” This is a conversational essential that encourages us to go beneath the surface and dig a little deeper. It also helps us remove our assumptions of what’s happening and really listen to the other person. The easiest way to employ this technique is a simple three word sentence:
Tell me more.
It helps to clarify what’s going on, it helps us dig deeper than the surface, and have a real conversation about a topic. It can also eliminate our tendency to talk around the issue without ever getting to the meat of the problem.
I see two big issues in conversation:
First: We stay on the surface. The questions we ask aren’t meant to dig deep into what’s going on, instead they’re a passing “how are you?” without really going into what’s really happening. This fault, if we can even use that word, is on both parties of the conversation. The person asking the question isn’t really seeking the information, instead they’re just employing our accepted greeting, expecting us to say “Fine, and you?” The person being asked the question doesn’t usually want to get into what’s really going on and so is satisfied answering that way.
Second: We make assumptions. We hear someone tell us the beginning of their problem and we decide we know their next steps and then proceed to solve the problem we’ve assumed they’re having. Or we assume we know what they’re talking about without really listening.
The hard part is that we aren’t always willing to go below the surface, sometimes we really don’t want to ask more clarifying questions because we just don’t have time. I know I’ve fallen into that trap.
But if we want to transform people’s faith, show them a life of Christ, and invite them into deeper relationship to Jesus Christ through His Church, then we have to dig deeper in relationships. When I want to evangelize my friend, bring her and her entire family back to the Church and a life of faith, I have to really listen to the concerns she has. I have to dig deeper than the surface to accompany her on her journey of faith.
So I’m going to challenge you to use “Tell me more” at least seven times in the next week. With co-workers, friends, your partner, your children (it works wonders on people who give one word answers to questions). Then evaluate what you’ve learned about others. Did it help your relationships? Did it help you? Were there times when you wished the person you were talking to asked you to tell them more? Then come tell me more about it!