Listening is More Powerful than Talking

A reader weighs in on my latest article on telling the truth in an interview. He suggests that the problem for many lawyers is that they are too concerned with their own technical qualifications when they are in an interview situation. He suggests that the key to success in any business interaction (job interview, meeting prospective clients or referral sources, etc.) is to use your listening skills:

I read your article and agree with it. My experience is more like yours so what you posit seems very common sense to me. However a lot of client service professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, and consultants, seem to fall into some of these traps.

They are so concerned about technical qualifications and problem solving and putting them out there that they neglect to think how others will receive them, i.e., not putting themselves in the position of their audience. Another way of discussing this is their failure to listen.

I see this in how they write their resumes and come across in conversation. They should communicate about the value they bring and the objectives they’ve accomplished in terms of who they are speaking to or to whom they are mailing their resume. Instead they do an information dump of sorts and hope something sticks. When interviewing people should align their accomplishments and skill to the objectives of the interviewer’s organization. Amplify the strengths that fit, acknowledge your weaknesses and set them aside.

The quickest way to partnership is to bring in business, and to bring in business you need a network, and to have a network you have to get outside your protective bubble. Yet I observe deep seated resistance to this and I find it amazing–an overall lack of willingness to network or prospect and get “the big picture.” I’m sure there are a myriad of reasons for their reluctance but I still don’t get it especially since the vast majority of successful people maintain these skills.


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