Show a little L.O.V.E.

Show a little L.O.V.E.
It’s October! Which is my favorite time of the year. Nothin’ beats Minnesota’s fall colors and homemade pumpkin pie, plus I get to celebrate one more year around the sun. Wahoo! I’m grateful to be here. 😀 With that in mind, I'll try to be brief. There’s literally a pumpkin pie with my name on it, and I don’t want to keep it waiting much longer.

If you haven’t read it yet, “Amplify Your Influence” (written by my friend René Rodriguez), is still a top seller, and for good reason. His insights into the worlds of communication and influence have had a tremendous impact on the way that I communicate with others, both personally and professionally.

One lesson that stands out is his approach to one-on-one conversations. I’ve really taken this to heart because I know that the best way to have a meaningful conversation with someone is to both listen and to exhibit an understanding of what the other person is saying. On paper, this sounds easy, but I know from experience that I have a tendency to talk, and to talk quickly, especially when I’m excited about something. René taught me to slow down and listen. In his book, he shares an easy-to-remember acronym: L.O.V.E. This simple approach reminds us how to show *LOVE* to those we’re speaking with by showing that we care about their world. You ready?

Listen - When someone else is speaking, we have the tendency to only think about what we’re going to say next instead of actually listening to what’s being said. In his book, Rene says “We can’t expect others to listen, unless we’re willing to listen first.” Let’s go out of our way to really LISTEN and…

Observe - While you’re listening, be sure to take note of anything they emphasize, and keep an eye on their non-verbals, e.g., the things that make them light up, the things that make their lips curl, and anything in-between. This is why I opt for Zoom calls over phone calls these days. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to observe what’s going on behind the words.

Validate - Validate the other person throughout your conversation. This could be as simple as nodding and reacting as they speak, but it also means showing that you are, in a way, being influenced by them. Validation is where meaningful relationships are formed.

Expand - This is where we ask them to go deeper so we can learn more. Remember asking “Why?” over and over as a child? I think of this as a less annoying version of that. One way to do this is with Mirroring. In “Never Split the Difference”, I love how Chris Voss suggests repeating back the last 1-3 important words someone just said, but as a question. “I really love pizza.” “Pizza?” “Yes! It’s the greatest food ever…” and then they begin to expand on the topic, and all you’ve done is mirror a couple of their own words.

AND… repeat. Once they’re expanding, you start the whole cycle over again. Listen, Observe, Validate, and Expand. It takes work to make this process a habit. René talks about how it’s easy to simply bombard people with information in the hopes that they become interested in us rather than simply being interested in them by asking questions. And it’s the latter that actually builds trust.

I’ve learned so many important lessons from Rene over the last several years and it’s exciting that he’s bottled up so many ideas into “Amplify Your Influence”. I’d highly recommend picking up a copy if you haven’t already. And yes, there’s even an audiobook version read by the man himself.

All right, my pie is getting cold, so with that, I want to encourage you all to spend some time with your family enjoying the ever-changing colors. Nothing like a crisp fall walk!

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