– Happy Wednesday everybody, I had a totally different topic planned for today, I wanted to talk about associate advisors, but this topic seems much more relevant and appropriate today. So the title is How to Listen to People Who You Think are Idiots. And I’m only 1/2 joking when I say that, think about how many times you’re in a conversation or reading something on social media or meeting with a client or a team member of whomever and thinking to yourself, that is not at all how I’m viewing this issue, that is not the solution I would come up with. Or gosh, I really like this person, but are they an idiot? Am I missing something? We have that happen to us so often, and totally normal, but really, really helpful if you can get to a place where you can quell your own biases and judgements and preconceived notions about people before going into a conversation or meeting with them. And so, I’m gonna translate this into work terms, but these skills, and what we’re really talking about is EQ and active listening, these skills are underrated in our industry, they are critically important, they’re arguably the most important skills you can have, not just as an advisor to others and sales person, but as a leader and as a human being. And so, I hope you take some best practices away that you can start implementing literally today. Let me start by saying, if you’re somebody who says that you have high EQ and that you’re not biased, and you are open to everyone’s opinions but you literally cannot be in a conversation with somebody who views things differently than you, then you do not have a high EQ yet and you are biased. And recognizing that is important, self-awareness. But it’s important that we understand what the real meaning of these terms like emotional intelligence and active listening. It’s not about being more emotional, it’s not about sitting like this when somebody’s talking so that they know you’re listening, it’s really about two simple things. The first is being able to go into a conversation where you are completely focused on the outcome that the other person is trying to achieve versus the outcome that you want to achieve. That’s the first piece. The second piece is being able to listen and enter into a meeting or a conversation with a completely mental clean slate, meaning you’re not viewing the person or listening to their comments through any specific lens. It’s really, really difficult to get to a place where you do this on a constant basis, things like mindfulness training, meditation really help. It’s something that you have to actively practice and cue yourself to do on an ongoing and daily basis. And so, my first tip for you all is, number one, recognize your learning style, I’m sorry, listening style. We all have different listening styles, some of us are selfish listeners. So you’ll know a selfish listener if you have a story to tell or you went on vacation and they can’t wait till you shut up so they can tell you about the amazing vacation they just went on as well. Aggressive listeners are people who are listening for what they wanna listen for. So they will take any cue, any little crumb that you give them and immediately jump to how that ties into the outcomes they wanna achieve. We also have some people who are defensive listeners, so those are people who go into a conversation fully ready and waiting, locked and loaded to give you their argument about why they’re right, and they’re already anticipating you having a different opinion. And sometimes they even hear things that aren’t there, especially as it relates to fees by the way. Advisors tend to be defensive listeners when they’re waiting for the client to have an issue with the fees that they’re charging. We also have creative listeners, these are people who, have you ever been in a conversation with a spouse, or an argument rather, and they’re repeating back to you what you heard and you’re like, that is not at all what I said? So creative listeners tend to fill in the gaps with their own narrative. We all have listening styles, and recognizing our listening hindrances, as I call it, is really important. The second thing is cue yourself, remember I spoke just a second ago about the importance of focusing on someone else’s outcomes. I want you to cue to yourself before going into every meeting with this thought, I am going to ask the question of what outcome do you seek to achieve today? What is your objective for this conversation or meeting? I wanna make sure that you get the most out of this conversation as you can, and so I wanna establish what success would look like to you at the end of this hour. Starting every formal meeting or conversation like that completely changes the dynamic of the conversation. People’s guard gets let down, they become a little bit more trusting to you, it becomes easier to build rapport. And by the way, when you’re actually cuing yourself to ask that, and I’d recommend people actually put it in their calendar that they could see to remember to ask those questions at the beginning of the conversation. It forces you to talk less and encourages the other person to talk more. By the way, before a meeting, it also is helpful to think about knowing what I know about this person, what might be an outcome that they’d wanna achieve from this conversation? If you don’t know the answer to that, asking that to them early on is really important. It establishes the roles in the conversation and really shows them, hey, I’m here to listen and I’m here to help you solve problems, and that’s all I’m here to do. Imagine going into meetings with prospects, by the way, or clients, where that’s how the conversation starts, versus they start talking and you’re immediately looking for a way to pitch them a product. Would totally change the game. Okay, so that’s the first thing, focus only on their outcomes and objectives and establish that rapport early on. The third thing I’d say is enter into conversations with genuine curiosity. This is what’s missing in conversations and dialogues and meetings today, genuine curiosity. Go into, and I tell folks who have a really difficult time quelling their preconceived notions and judgements, imagine yourself putting all those preconceived notions and judgements in a box and locking that box just for that hour. So we’re actually training our mind to go in and say, “Okay, I’m gonna write on a slip of paper, “millennials are lazy, “this person is always gonna come in late, “no matter what I tell them. “I’m not a good leader, “I hate managing people.” Preconceived notions, judgements, belief systems, lock them in a box and go into the conversation genuinely curious about why the person feels the way they feel, why they talk the way they talk, why they have a specific communication style. When we enter into conversations with genuine curiosity, we aim to learn something about the other person, versus being completely focused on why we’re right and they’re wrong. So genuine curiosity. The fourth and final thing I’ll say is, and so we have understanding our listening styles and being really aware of those before we go into conversations, beginning every conversation engagement with the outcomes the other person wants to focus on, even, by the way, when you’re arguing with a spouse. Saying to them, “How can I be helpful here?” And that’s the third piece, that genuine curiosity that I spoke about, that’s a really powerful question that helps you present yourself and genuinely be curious. How can I be helpful to you? I wanna replay what I’ve heard from you verbatim, how can I be helpful as you move forward, or how can I be helpful as you seek to achieve the outcomes you want to achieve. The fourth thing is practicing empathy. This is by far the hardest one because the truth is, sometimes we just don’t care. We just don’t care about the excuses, we just don’t feel super empathetic that day or for that person, or whatever it is. And so, I encourage advisors to actually practice empathy. Actually say the things, and this is gonna seem weird, even if you don’t mean it, that an empathetic person would say. Create a list of responses that you would give if you were being an empathetic person in the conversation. Blanket objective statements that would help you to establish yourself as an objective party, even if your mind is screaming something else, and will help to continue to keep that guard down when the other person is talking to us. So difference between empathy and sympathy, super important. I’m sorry this happened to you, I completely understand how frustrating it must feel for you right now that your candidate lost. Or I can understand how frustrating it is for you to feel like you just haven’t found the right planner and advisor, how can I be helpful as you continue on that search. Okay, I hope that was helpful to you guys, shut off social media today, after you watch my video of course, and I will see you next week, same place, same time, take care.