As human beings our natural (and only) perspective is from the inside out — we perceive the world from our own point of view. This is the way things have always been, and it’s (most likely) never going to change. If we want to help others however — whether as advisors, leaders, parents or any other type of capacity in which we want to influence the behavior of other people, we have to start putting ourselves in the shoes of the other person.
As long as we are locked in to our own world view, we won’t be able to take that different perspective. This might strike you as being basic empathy, and it’s a closely related cousin, but it’s also something other than that. More than anything it’s the willingness to openly explore what’s on the mind and in the heart of another person; what are their concerns, their ideas, their considerations and their aspirations?
There is a common misconception that leadership, influence, sales and persuasion (in any form) is about saying the right things. This couldn’t be further from the truth — more than anything it’s about asking the right questions.
When it comes to building trust, there is nothing more detrimental than starting from our own perspectives. If we’re busy blaring out our solution, our perspective and our thoughts, then we can’t make room for the other person in the conversation – and if we can’t make room for another person in the conversation, then there is no way that client is going to be interested in us.
Remember this: if you want to get other people to look your way, you’ll find it much easier if you’re interested rather than interesting.