James Van Fleet once said, “Always think in terms of what the other person wants.”
During my nearly 17 years of marriage, I’ve discovered that one of the keys to a successful relationship is thinking in terms of what my wife wants. For instance, there are times when my wife wants to watch a romantic movie when I’d prefer to watch an action movie. You might be saying,”Great! Let her watch her romantic movie and you go watch an action movie on another television.” Good idea, my rational thinking friend. However, if I were to act on that type of thinking my wife wouldn’t get what she really wanted it from the experience. Connectedness. Guess what? I want to feel that too.
In fact, everything human beings do can be summed up this way: Human behavior is driven by our desire to change the way we feel or change the way we behave. Most people take actions to change the way they feel because it’s an easier path to take. Unfortunately, many people indulge in behaviors that are detrimental in the pursuit of changing feelings. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can take complete control of your feelings/emotions in an instant. Want an example?
Have you ever laughed so hard that you almost wet your pants? As you recall that experience now, see what you saw then and hear what you heard. How do you feel?
If you really remembered a time when you laughed uncontrollably, I’m confident that you felt differently while thinking about that experience. It’s amazing how quickly we can change the way we feel, isn’t it? Can you see how asking a simple question enables you to influence others or yourself?
Let’s go deeper. Okay?
If you want to influence others, you need to know what influences them. Stated differently, you have to find out what it takes for them to feel a certain emotion. Yes, we all experience emotions differently from each other. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to ascertain the details of peoples’ strategies for fulfilling the most important emotions they are seeking to experience.
In other words, we must find out what they really want. We must discover their values. What are values? Values are the feelings or emotional states of pleasure or pain we hold as most important versus least important. In order to determine someone’s values, the key questions are:
What do you want in a __________?
What’s important to you about ______?
or What’s most important to you about _______?
What has to happen in order for your to feel ________?
For example, if you wanted to find out someone’s values in a business relationship you would say… “I’m curious. What do you want in a business relationship?”
They might respond by saying,”I want to be able to trust people I do business with. I want open and honest communication. And I want to be respected.”
Then I would ask, “What would be most important to you in a business relationship? ” The reason for that question is that it helps me learn how they prioritize the values they’ve mentioned. After they respond with, let’s say, “Trust,” I would proceed by asking the evidence procedure question, which is: “What has to happen in order for you to feel that you can trust someone?”
Wait! Before I move on, I’ll explain why I ask the evidence procedure question.
The importance of asking that question is this: Let’s use a metaphor. Words are the choices listed on the menu, but they aren’t the actual meal. Most of us have had the disappointing experience of ordering a tantalizing-looking entree from a menu at a restaurant of choice. After having read and re-read the description and waited, mouth watering, for it to arrive, we were let down when it finally did.
Sure, it’s easier to assume you know what someone means by their words – but you run the risk of ending up with a frustrated business partner, client, customer, friend, etc. It would be far wiser to find out the meaning of their words from them than to filter them through your own experiences, and end up with a dish you didn’t really want. Are you with me?
Once you’ve discovered the words, aka values, you must learn how they know when their values are being met, which is known as their evidence procedure or criteria.
Now, let’s continue.
Again, the question to ask to discover their criteria is: “What has to happen in order for you to feel that you can trust someone in a business relationship?”
Typically, you will hear if/then statements. For example, “If you never, ever lie to me, then I will trust you. If you keep me abreast of every minute detail of each activity we are involved in, then I will trust you. If you never share any of the personal information I reveal to you, I will trust you.” I think you get the idea.
After you’ve uncovered that information, you decide whether or not meet their criteria. Let’s say you do. What do you think will happen in your relationship? Will they trust you?
Yes, they will trust you!
This process will revolutionize your relationships, both personal and professional, if you are willing to simply ask a few questions, listen intently, and decide to do what it takes to fulfill the other person’s criteria. If you have questions about what I’ve written in this post, please invest the time to write your question in the comment section and I will respond to it. Do you trust me? 🙂
With your success in mind,