Dialogue Of The Deaf
I don't really know what an argument would look like between two deaf individuals, but I have seen plenty of conversations that almost looked as if both people were deaf. You've seen it. They talk, but no one listens. They try to make THEIR point, and yet they're building that very point at the same time the other person is trying to make theirs! How much listening is involved? None!
By no means do I mean any disrespect to anyone who is deaf. I suspect that anyone who is deaf would find it sad and ridiculous to see two people with perfectly good hearing acting like they can’t really hear each other – by choice.
I read in The Significance Principle, by Les Carter and Jim Underwood, that we should listen PAST where the other person has finished. We should even pause before answering. This doesn't just apply to a "heated" conversation, but any conversation. Let them talk! Let them get their point, their story, their compliment, and even their criticism out. Completely. Then, before preparing your response, ask more about what they said. Get engaged. Understand what and why. Stephen Covey defines this as the 5th habit in his top 2 selling business book of the 20th century, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It's critical: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.
Seeking real understanding affirms the other person and what they have to say. That's what they want. That's what we want – to be understood, valued and affirmed.
What if you seek to understand, but others don't? Two things come to mind. One person truly listening is generally better than none. More important though, one person listening generally leads to two people listening. Others learn the habit through your example. It’s your influence, and as John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less”.
Do you want to be a better leader? Avoid the collective monologue. Think; don't react. Allow stimulus of another’s words to yield CHOICE which then yields response. Choice, in this case, is your decision to listen, pause, consider, engage and then respond to others. Try it. It works.