Guest AuthorNathan S V

Of Pauses, Listening and Outcomes

By | Nathan SV | Partner and Chief Talent Officer at Deloitte India

It was one of those difficult meetings, a show down for sure. There were arguments for and against. I was all set. My debating skills were going to be tested. The ‘other party’ had an equally strong person, plus, he was my ‘senior’ a tough man. It was not going to be his day for sure. I had prepared well. I had logic, reason, and data to prove my points.

As I left my room, my colleagues who had help prepare for the meeting with helpful notes were standing in the corridor egging me on, telling me to ‘teach the guy a lesson’. I was getting all ready for the big battle ahead of me, all puffed up. I could not lose. No way!

It was a long walk to the meeting room. For some reason I remembered my mentor who once had said that – ‘to win an argument, lose your ego and to lose, fuel your ego’. I decided what I needed to do, just walk in with an open mind and a willing heart.

After the usual handshakes and ‘would you want a cup of coffee’ stuff, we dived straight into the matter. For some strange reason, I decided to pause and listen to the man I wanted to ‘defeat’. My demeanor changed. I was leaning in, listening, asking questions. He had a point. A good one. I heard myself backing his arguments.

The meeting ended on a good note, something that would benefit the firm. He got up and thanked me profusely as he had expected a fight. It was a longer walk to my office. What if I had not taken a pause to listen! I realized that it was the best thing I had ever done.

My team members would perhaps think of me as being weak. Did not matter. You don’t have to win every discussion. Sometimes it is not about winning at all. It is about how we listen, collaborate, and work with one another. I realized how much I had gained – and that’s by just listening to another point of view. 

Republished with permission and originally published at Nathan SV’s LinkedIn

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