Showing posts with label Chris Efessiou. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chris Efessiou. Show all posts

Monday, March 31, 2014

Listening with Your EYES

For more than 25 years, I've been teaching people how to become better listeners.

During that entire time, I've emphasized the need to really understand what another person is trying to tell you. That involves paying attention to the words, tone of voice and body language.

But I realized another way to think and talk about this process recently, when I was being interviewed by Chris Efessiou on his radio show Straight Up with Chris.

Our EARS are not the only sensory organs that we need to engage to be effective listeners.

If we’re going to “get” a person’s complete message, we also need to use our EYES.

Chris and I were discussing why listening is the foundation for all other communication skills, and why it’s not just about hearing someone speak.

He teaches negotiations at two universities and emphasizes this point with students:

With the art and science of negotiating, 
80% of it is LISTENING and OBSERVING.

I've known for decades the truth of these words, but I hadn't thought about it in terms of using your eyes even more than your ears.

Ignoring what you see when communicating with others can cause you to miss a huge part of the message, often the most important part.

Suppose you’re talking with your teenage daughter. You’re telling her something and she says “Yes” to every point you make. Yet her posture clearly shows that she is not buying what you’re trying to sell her. If you’re not observing that part of her reaction, you’ll miss what she’s really conveying.

Or at work, you've made a difficult decision and announced it to another person who will be impacted by it. You ask if he’s OK with it and you get the response, “It’s fine.” But his body slumps in the chair, and disappointment is written on his face. Are you paying attention to his body language, in addition to his words?

Communication is hard. We don’t learn these essential skills in school, and often we focus on the wrong things – what we want to say, the strength of our position or rationale, attempting to persuade the other person to accept our point of view…

If we can take more time to zero in on others – to truly see who they are and how they’re reacting to our message – we’re much more likely to interpret their response accurately.

This dynamic gives us the opportunity to have real dialogue and go deeper. We can address the discrepancy between their words and their body language, and open the door for them to be honest with us about their real thoughts and feelings.

If you’re genuinely interested in “getting” another person, commit to using your ears and your eyes in every conversation. You may be astounded at what you learn…and what you've been missing.

And if you'd like to learn about other four communication skills I discussed with Chris Efessiou on his show, listen to the full interview.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chief Daddy Officer – Lessons on Parenting from a Wise CEO

I used to read a lot of parenting books when my daughter Alison was growing up, especially during those challenging pre-teen and teen years. I wish I’d had CDO Chief Daddy Officer: The Business of Fatherhood back then. This book speaks to mothers and fathers alike.

Author Chris Efessiou takes a unique approach to the topic of parenting. A very successful business executive, throughout the book Chris explains how he applied his business skills to the raising of his daughter. Anyone who’s been in a work environment will immediately relate to the analogies he uses. And you’ll probably shake your head wondering, “Why didn’t I see this connection before?”

One of the major themes is to take a strategic approach. Obviously, in running a company, you have to think about the big picture – where you want your business to go – in addition to attending to day-to-day operations. But what does that mean for a parent dealing with daily crises and challenges that involve your children?

It means being guided by questions like, “What do I want to come out of this?” and “What kind of adult do I want this child to become?”

When you take time to consider your answers to those questions, your response in a given situation can shift from anger to calm because you think about the long-term consequences and what you’re teaching your child through your reactions. If you over-react, you lose control over yourself and you risk losing the respect of your child. But if you maintain your composure and respond thoughtfully, you model behavior that you want your son or daughter to adopt and carry into adulthood.

Because, as Chris points out, your ultimate goal as a parent is to:

“Raise a dependable, conscientious, reliable, trustworthy, sensible, self-sufficient, 
un-entitled, mature adult.”
Think about the responsibility those words carry for a parent! What does it take to produce the kind of grown-up who possesses all those desirable qualities? If you’re serious about achieving that outcome, you’ll think twice before handing over “easy money” or giving in to persistent requests and demands that are not in their best interest.

Instead, you’ll have a plan for your child’s character and growth. You'll...
  • Give thought to situations you want to expose her to that will help her develop compassion and empathy. 

  • Teach him about money management so he knows how to handle his finances and stay out of debt. 

  • Ask meaningful questions that draw out thoughts, concerns and ideas, instead of asking trivial questions that go nowhere, such as “How was your day?”

  • Make time to be there physically and emotionally so she knows she can count on you.

  • Offer encouragement and praise when his behavior is consistent with your plan.
One of the strengths of this book is that Chris does not just tell you WHAT to do. He gives you specific HOW-TO’S and illustrates each with a memorable story involving his daughter. You’re not left wondering how on earth you’re supposed to apply the concept. I’ve shared some of his stories with friends and families because the lessons are so memorable, universal and profound.

Chris’ devotion and love for his daughter shine through on every page. The retelling of their interactions will make you smile, nod in agreement and wipe away tears. He has a unique gift for writing that stimulates your thinking and touches your heart.

If you read and apply what you learn from Chris Efessiou, you will not only introduce solid citizens to our society, you’ll establish a deep, rewarding relationship with your children that lasts a lifetime.

“Think about the parent that you want to be and decide what you are willing to sacrifice to become that person.” 
Chris Efessiou

Chris Efessiou also has a weekly radio show, Straight Up with Chris, Real Talk on Business & Parenthood, where he interviews other experts about the topics addressed in his book. Also highly recommended!