By Colleen Harding
This political season has made individuals who might normally be thoughtful and kind show a different side. Because we are so nervous about the predictability of one candidate and the unknown of another, we are panicked. This fear has caused some very volatile, opinionated conversations.
So what power does the listener have that the person who constantly speaks does not? How does the use of listening etiquette put a person in a seat of power?
Etiquette is about other people. It is about how we demonstrate that we belong somewhere. It determines how we dress, dine, act, speak, and listen to others. Anyone can voice their opinion in a tactless manner, but the powerful individual is the one who asks great questions and listens. This is the person who sits back and takes everything in and digests. Then possibly asks another question to clarify a point and listens.
Listening is a great power tactic. First, it is how we learn things. No one ever learned something new from speaking. Second, it allows a person to demonstrate self-control, which is extremely powerful. Lastly, a good listener is thoughtful but mysterious because you rarely know what they are thinking. They are excellent negotiators and rarely predictable. The next time you want to put yourself in a powerful position, spend the evening asking great questions and listening. People will look at you differently.
Colleen Harding is a protocol coach and the founder of the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol. She can be reached at (216) 970-5889 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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