This is an unusual way, because it goes against what we naturally do, and because it requires a lot of maturity. If I tell you that you won’t have to invest more of your time, and that you will rapidly benefit from it, are you intrigued?
The secret is: To Do Lunch With Your Enemies!
The word enemy might be a bit strong; I’m referring here to the people that are often disagreeing with you. The idea is to spend some time with them, one at a time (not all together!), so you get the opportunity to hear something different.
Above all, don’t do like I did! When I was a manager, I didn’t do lunch. I thought that closing my door and working was the best use of that time. I under estimated the importance of networking and branding. Now I know that I should have used that time of day, for developing my internal and external relationships.
The people we chose to have lunch, with are usually our friends. In other words, the ones that think like us, that are on our side, and that would hesitate to contradict us. The problem with that is that all we do is to rehash to same ideas.
Nowadays (I’m trying to avoid saying “Now that I’m older!”), I’ve learned to appreciate a good discussion. What if I’m wrong in the way I’m seeing this… What if I learn something new from someone that has had different experiences, that have read different books, that have experienced different results…It does require stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s certainly not as relaxing as when you talk with your friends. You need to suspend all judgment, and to keep an open mind for the entire discussion.
As a reward, not only do you gain a new perspective on things (the idea is not necessarily to come to an agreement…), but it’s also an excellent opportunity to practice your listening skills.
Stephen Covey said: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
For the best results, you have to ask a lot of questions, and set aside your first impressions and all preconceived ideas. Dig a little! If you get to the point where you understand the other person’s needs, and identify how you can help her, you could gain an ally.
Try it and see all that you’ll learn and benefit from doing this. From your perception and the other person’s point of view, there’s a lot to discover. What if she was right…?
Is this something you could see yourself doing? Let me know in the Comment section.