Yes. Some questions are loaded. No. It's not always the other person doing the loading.
The loaded question 🙅♀️.
Has anyone ever asked you a question that you think they already know the answer to? They ask anyway. You feel triggered. The internal battle begins 🧠.
Why are they asking? Shouldn't they know? Do they want me to justify myself? I shouldn't have to answer this! 🙇♀️
No matter what is said, it feels...disappointing. You feel misunderstood.
You go home and recite different ways you could have ’won’ the conversation in front of the mirror 🤦♀️.
Yes. Some questions are loaded.
No. It's not always the other person doing the loading.
If you notice a particular person, topic or question that continually feels loaded, it may be time to start doing some ’unloading.’
🙋♀️ “I need to take a pause real quick; I’ll be right back.”
*shuts the door, takes deep breaths, looks in the mirror and asks - what unwanted thoughts or assumptions did I bring to that conversation?
...minutes pass more deep breaths, feel a bit better, return to the conversation.
”I have to admit I started to feel _______ when we were talking; I feel ______ now and can see how I was bringing _________ to the conversation. I'd like to [start over/talk about something else/ whatever you want to do at that moment].”
🚫 There's no need to fake it, hide it, or bury it. 🚫 There's also no need to shame it, discredit it, or judge it.
Acknowledging how you feel without judgement is a crucial part of developing self-empathy ✨.
Mutually growth-enhancing, healthy relationships require both empathy AND self-empathy. No shame. No self-judgement. AUTHENTICITY.
Let me know if you've ever felt this way in the comments and what's been working or not working for you!
Tone, body language, facial gestures, and personality can be easily lost in written communication.
Have you ever read an email or message and wondered: Are they mad? Do they care? Do they have any idea what I’m going through? How can they expect me to understand this?
The reality is, life is only getting more digital, and our ability to lead is directly impacted by our ability to communicate both verbally AND in writing.
So what can you do to ensure your written communications are working in your favour?
Be CLEAR - Ambiguity is the killer of effective communication. It turns on our internal dialogue and stops us from listening or absorbing what is actually being said or written. Read your text out loud and take your time.
Give Specific Directions - What do you want? Be specific, and don’t ever assume someone knows what you want. They cannot read your mind.
Be Concise - No one wants to read an unnecessarily long message. The longer it goes, the less reading actually happens. Keep it concise. Time is precious.
Empathy is EVERYTHING - Always make a point to lead with empathy. Put yourself in their shoes, and then ask for confirmation that you understand what they are going through, need and feel. The more the other person feels heard and understood, the more open they will be to the rest of the conversation.
These four simple steps can massively improve your written communication and help you genuinely connect with your reader.
Bonus Tip: Use the newbie test - if you were sending this to a brand new team member on their very first day, would they understand it, feel empowered by it, and be able to list exactly what you are asking of them?
Why pitching or throwing your services at someone before truly listening shuts down the conversation.
Selling before Listening.
The truth is, most people don’t want you to solve their problems for them; they want someone to listen to them and have a chance to listen to themselves. Think back to a time when you were trying to open up to someone about a struggle you were having, but they immediately threw solutions at you.
How did you feel?
I’ve been there too.
As a helper, regardless of your title, the first step to developing any relationship, making any pitch, or making any sale is LISTENING. TRULY LISTENING. Not to stock up on opportunities to overcome objections or to solve their problem. Just to listen.
Feeling the need to help can be distracting; we want so badly to ease their pain and solve their problems.
When you think about it, most people have already had their fill of ‘advice’ and need a moment just to feel heard.
Contrary to popular belief, listening is not passive.
It is HIGHLY ACTIVE as you take in the facts, the person’s feelings, and understand their perspective.
Our job as the helper is not to solve their problem or throw our offers on the table any chance we get. It’s to give them a safe container or space to discover their own power, merely offering tools and guidance that empower them. So, how can you help the other person feel heard?
Relaxed and attentive body position
Confirming what you heard (“you felt angry” or “you felt helpless”)
Summarize what you heard (“So let me make sure I got it right…”)
Don’t jump into solving their problem; instead, ask them what you can do to help and let them tell you if they are ready for a solution.
*If not, have faith that your listening was appreciated, and you will be rewarded with a sale, a referral, or great word of mouth.
When someone feels truly heard and understood, something incredible happens. Trust begins to develop.
Trust is the most essential part of marketing, sales, and business. When you have a person’s trust, you will likely have their business, their friends and family’s business, and you’ll KEEP IT.