Charles DeVeaux

Social Theorist | Cultural Creative

Writing, producing, and facilitating works & conversations about love, modernity, and humanity.

Pause, Listen, Echo, Address

Outside of being a closet writer since I was 18 years old, I have spent much of my life working in sales & marketing.  Primarily in sales: retail sales, corporate sales, even selling for my own independent consultancy. There is a technique that we use in sales, and quite frankly, we can never practice it enough because it is so easy to get caught up in the emotion of the moment and forget to use it.  We spend hours preparing for customers' objections by role-playing around this one idea. My wife and I have used it with success often.  Other times we have definitely forgotten to use it.  I was reminded of it the other day at work and thought to myself, "right, imagine if everyone role played in their relationships this way to be prepared."  The technique is to Pause, Listen, Echo, Address. When a customer (your partner, lover, spouse) has an objection, don't cut them off!  Otherwise you end up going tit-for-tat, back and forth arguing. That is ALWAYS a counterproductive, losing proposition. Your customer leaves the interaction feeling unheard, hurt, misunderstood, and dissatisfied.  Even if you are frustrated, PAUSE... and let them fully explain.

Continue to listen, no matter how pissed, ticked, confused, tired, disagreeable, or correct you think you are.  Don't pretend to listen as you prepare your rebuttal.  Sincerely hear what the other person is trying to say. LISTEN... to understand their real concern.

To show your customer you've been listening, and to confirm understanding, repeat to them what they explained.  ECHO back your understanding.

Finally, slowly, calmly explain to them what you understand their needs are and why you recommended the solution you did, and why you felt it would be best based on what they need.  Modify your solution here if need be to arrive at a win-win agreement.  ADDRESS their concern.

Imagine you took the time with you lover, partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse to set up this role play training.  Imagine agreeing, in advance, to go through this routine for every dispute, disagreement, misunderstanding, dissatisfaction. Every "who was supposed to do the dishes?" to "what bill was paid?" to "let's go to which restaurant?" and even including the tougher ones like "you went to meet up with your old who!?"

Truth is, every one of us will one day have needs or concerns that, for some reason, are not being met.  We can lose ourselves in the emotions of the moment, or we can agree to practice in a way that will give us win-win solutions most of the time.  Isn't your customer worth it?  PAUSE, LISTEN, ECHO, ADDRESS.

Hit me back.  Have you tried this before?  How many people do you think practice this regularly?  Did it ever not work or make things worse?  Do people practice this while dating, early in the relationship, or only after a long time together?  What else do you find works?  Make room for more.