One of the occupational hazards ⚠️ we have as professionals is that we like to show how smart we are 🤯. Of course our clients are paying us for our wisdom. But sometimes we jump in too soon.

Giving advice is much more effective if we actually understand the problem before we jump in.  Michael Bungay Stanier, a talented coach, calls this our “advice monster”.

As Michael suggests, the best way to respond when a client describes a problem is to say “and what else?”

And to keep doing this until we find out what the “real” problem is.

This is also true when we are out networking and getting to know potential referral sources and clients. If someone tells you about a concern in their business, ask questions about the issues they have raised. Resist the urge to talk about your own experience with the same problem.

The same is true if you want to be a great leader.

Ask open ended questions and LISTEN! Tune in to their demeanor. Focus on THEM!

Politics aside, Bill Clinton is famous for this. He was described in the book Primary Colors as being an “aerobic listener”. He has the ability to make everyone feel like they are the only person in the room.

If you are an attorney, you are being paid for your legal acumen. But you will be much more effective in showing your smarts if you use your ears 👂🏻👂🏻a lot more that your mouth 🤐

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