29 Apr 2008

Putting the ball back in the speaker's court

Posted by paulandrew

So I’m moving up the road to San Mateo this week, and I’ve been chewing over a decision I need to make. I finally decided to ask Eran about it–directly.

“Eran, I want your advice. Should I ask for 2 moving guys or 3?”

And so very naturally he said:

“Could you explain to me the factors you’re looking at with 2 versus 3?

And I was off, recounting the thinking I’d done, going through the decision trees. And sure enough, as I talked, I had some new insights, got new ideas on how to look at the question. Those insights didn’t come directly from Eran–they came out of the relational presence he offered.

What do I mean by relational presence? I mean a special combination of attentiveness, genuine concern, plus no attachment to me making one decision versus another.

At one level it doesn’t make sense–if the answer were within me, wouldn’t I have thought of it already. And yet from my experience, having that great Supportive Listener brings out new thinking and ideas within me.

Bottom line is that putting the ball back in the speaker’s court, through a well placed invitation, which in this case was a question, is the gateway to activating the speaker’s internal smarts.

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