Have you ever been the situation where you want to help someone solve a problem or challenge that they are going through, but after attempting been harshly rejected? “Mind your own business!” “Thank you, but I am just fine.” “Don’t try to fix me!” and so on… This can be very frustrating for those of us who love to help. Consider what I called getting Double Permission as a possible solution for you and your circle of influence.
Consider getting DOUBLE Permission.
Get permission to speak about their problem by asking questions so that they tell you the problem or challenge they are having. Ask questions and have them tell you the answers, even if you already know the answer. Only then can you attempt to share your own experience.
“You know, I felt the same way”
“I had the same challenge”.
People don’t really care what you know. They do care that you are interested in them and care about their situation. This first step in being curious and letting them tell you sets the stage for your listener to be able to hear what you have to say. Unless permission #1 is granted, they will at best not listen to your wisdom, and at worst take it as an attack on their competency.
This is another question. Do not be fooled in thinking that the one you are trying to help has given you a continuing permission to speak contract. They have not. You need to ask again. This is the double permission part. Even though they told you the issue, it doesn’t mean they want you to help with a solution. Often times people confuse your desire to help with a solution as saying that something is wrong with them as a person. Of course this is not true. Getting the 2nd round of permission will help you focus on the challenge, and create value instead of offense.
“Would you like to know what I learned?”
“Would you like to know how I solved or overcame my challenge? I think it might be valuable.”
The key is to actually let them answer! I know this will be challenging, but give it a go. Shut up and let there be silence until you get an answer. This alone could be a breakthrough type experience for the one you are with. Most people do not really want to know the answers to their questions, they just want to talk more. Listening will set you apart as someone who cares.
They might say “No” or “That’s ok, I got it under control”. And let that be ok. You are there to serve. Be available and they may come back. If you really want to help them, your goal is not about getting the reaction from them that you want, your goal is better their situation. Telling them what you think anyway can feel demeaning and once again be taken as an offense from the person you were trying to help.
People are curious sometimes. Even though you may have the answer, they often don’t want to hear you because, they feel attacked or that you think you are better then them, or other silly things that are not true. The way around it is to get DOUBLE permission. You will find this works well in business and personal relationships. Let them tell you what they want to know.
Consistently practicing this approach will not only set you up as a trusted advisor, but someone who truly cares. People will remember and appreciate you for a lifetime.