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RRR of The Art of Conversation

About the Author

 Manoj Dasari

Manoj Dasari

John Deere India Pvt Ltd

is a Product Leader and an Alumnus of Executive MBA in Product Leadership at the Institute of Product Leadership & CMR University. This article is published with the author’s permission and was first published on Medium

R — Respectful in conversation

“One of the sincerest forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” — Bryant H. McGill

Being respectful in conversation involves several key elements. It includes actively listening to others without interrupting, showing empathy and understanding, being considerate of different viewpoints, avoiding offensive language and tone, and acknowledging the other person’s feelings or opinions even if you disagree with them. Respect in conversation also involves being open-minded, courteous, and treating others with kindness and dignity.

Why respect? Because when we feel that the person speaking to us values our time, understands our needs, and considers our circumstances, we are a lot more likely to believe that they have a product, initiative, or viewpoint that we want.

listening is more than just letting the other person talk. You need to be active, engaged, and responsive, too.

Below are some points to consider for being respectful in conversation.

• Use appropriate body language: If you are meeting in-person, make sure that you communicate your active listening with the right body language. Try not to cross your arms, make sure to keep up eye contact, and don’t look around the room or over the speaker’s shoulder. Don’t look at your phone. Ideally, any devices will be turned off, so you aren’t distracted by ringing or buzzing.

• Take notes: When you write something down, you signal that you consider it important enough to remember — and you remember it. Notes can be invaluable when you have a follow-up meeting and want to be able to refer to specific numbers or other details.

• Accept disagreement: A big part of listening is giving up control. Once you turn over the floor, you need to be able to accept that the other person may have a completely different perspective than you do. You might have fundamental disagreements, but by listening well, you might find some common ground. At the very least, you’ll show that you can treat other viewpoints with respect and empathy.

• Curious questions: Cultivate genuine curiosity. When you are curious about your audience, you’ll ask interesting questions that they’ll want to answer. Listen to what they have to say and ask another question about that. Of course, this won’t be an infinite process, but you might be amazed at where one incisive question and one or two follow-up questions will take you.

R — Reflecting conversations

Reflective listening is a communication technique in which the listener tries to understand the speaker’s idea and then communicates it back to them to confirm it was understood correctly. As opposed to most conversation techniques, which typically require the listener to provide a response to the speaker’s message, reflective listening requires the speaker to be able to reflect the speaker’s ideas and feelings as accurately as possible.

There are two main techniques used for reflective listening. They are:

Reflective conversation involves several techniques to encourage understanding and effective communication:

1. Active Listening: Give the speaker your full attention, maintain eye contact, nod to show understanding, and avoid interrupting.

2. Paraphrasing: Restate what the speaker said in your own words to ensure you’ve understood correctly. For example, “It sounds like you’re feeling frustrated because of the situation at work.”

3. Summarizing: Summarize key points or emotions expressed by the speaker to consolidate the conversation’s main ideas. This demonstrates your understanding of the broader context.

4. Asking Open-ended Questions: Encourage the speaker to elaborate on their thoughts and feelings by asking questions that require more than a yes/no response. This allows for a deeper exploration of their perspective.

5. Reflecting Feelings: Acknowledge and validate the emotions the speaker is expressing, such as saying, “It seems like you’re really excited about this opportunity.”

6. Empathy and Validation: Show empathy by acknowledging the speaker’s feelings without judgment, validating their experiences, and expressing understanding.

7. Avoiding Judgment: Refrain from judging or offering unsolicited advice. Instead, focus on understanding the speaker’s perspective.

8. Silence and Pausing: Sometimes allowing moments of silence or pauses gives the speaker space to gather their thoughts and continue sharing. By incorporating these techniques, reflective conversation creates an atmosphere of understanding, trust, and respect, facilitating meaningful communication and connection between individuals.

R — Respond appropriately

“Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply.” — Stephen Covey

Whether in an emergency or just daily interactions with others, learning how to respond, rather than react, can make an enormous difference in the outcome of situations.

What is the difference between reaction and response:

Reaction is an emotional, subconscious decision that is made without consideration for the consequences usually in haste.

Response is the conscious effort to take a step back, pause, review the situation, attempt to figure out the probable cause, and consider the available solutions.

4 Ps to get you out of reacting and into responding: Respectful, Reflecting and Responding to a conversation to make it an impressive conversation. Make if part of your personality that you do not really need to be aware or conscious of RRR in conversation

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