The Value of Radical Understanding: Reading Others! Part 4

Now let’s build upon what we’ve learned about Radical Understanding. We’ve spoken about reading invisible channels, setting aside our perceptual filters to get real information, paying close attention, and even to eliciting the other person’s strategies and identifying the relevant parts of the other person’s Map of the World.

Remember what we said about Map of the World before–we don’t need to elicit every detail about the person or their communication. Only the things which apply to our present circumstance. One of the questions I got through my Contact form on this site fits here: How do we know what those are?

Simply, look at the context of your situation. What would you want to know? What details would matter? In a business transaction, we may ask what details, what aspects of the communication, might impact the transaction. If you were trying to sell a widget to someone, certain such details might come to mind. “How much do you want to pay for a widget?” “Have you purchased these before?” “What do you think of widgets?” “Did you ever have a favorite widget?” Though you might think of a hundred more. But what you’re attempting to elicit are the portions of that customer’s Map of the World that correlate to buying a widget.

Yes, you can cut to the chase and elicit instead the customer’s widget-buying strategy. In most cases, that would be my recommendation, bypassing such broader questions in favor of those specific to the purchase decision. But it’s an example, and in some cases, such as with a very high-ticket item, their beliefs about widgets, prejudices, past experiences, anecdotes and more, may be quite pertinent. The context decides.

Among my students, a frequent question comes, “Isn’t this manipulative or sneaky in some way?” When you consider that we are consistently miscommunicating, wasting time discussing and pursuing the wrong thing, it seems to me that focusing in on Radical Understanding is, if anything, the height of respect.

I’ve often used the litmus test of “Would I object to this being used on me?” and more bluntly, “Would I rather someone pay half-attention, get much of my message, my needs, my concerns (depending on the situation) wrong? Or would I rather they use every bit of their perceptual skills to truly understand me? In a single question: “Would I be offended or delighted that the other person chose to Radically Understand me and my needs?” The answer is an absolute “delight” as I’d not only be happy the other person chose to pay attention, to care, but also that they respected my time.

And when you think about it, it’s all about time that we begin to really pay attention and understand one another. You will, by paying Radical attention to those around you, understanding them more deeply than anyone else would bother, build stronger relationships, whether in business or your personal life.

And that is a sincere sign of respect toward the other person.

Copyright © 2023 Chris Gingolph

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