When I was at a conference a couple of months ago a Malpractice Attorney was speaking on how to handle problems with patients or clients to keep them from escalating and becoming serious issues. The attorney said that most problems can be solved if we would just take the time ask questions and then listen to what the person has to say in order to find a solution that would be satisfactory for them.
Active listening and clear, concise communication is the key to resolving almost all problems, yet it is something that we fail to do because we allow our own emotions, thoughts and opinions to get in the way and react on them instead. She shared the story below and I thought it was a good example of what we so often do, so I am passing it along.
A busy mother was on the phone talking with a friend and she heard her two daughters in the kitchen fighting with each other. After a few minutes she asked her friend to hold on while she took care of the problem with her daughters.
When she walked into the kitchen and found her daughters fighting over an orange. They were yelling at each other stating that they needed the orange for something they wanted to make.
The mother thinking she could settle this issue quickly took the orange and a knife and cut it in half and handed each girl a half of the orange. She told them they should have been able to figured this out in the first place and walked out so she could continue her call.
Later that day, to the mother’s surprise, both girls were still upset over the orange. When the mother asked them why were they still upset, as the problem was handled fairly, the girls replied one at a time. One daughter said, “You promised that I could have the orange to make juice for a cake and half of the orange did not give enough juice so I couldn’t make it.”
The other daughter said she was mad because her mother told her she could make cookies and she needed the peel of one orange to make candied orange strips for the cookies and one half of an orange peel was not enough so she could not make her cookies.”
Because the mother did not take the time to hear both of her daughters stories and just reacted to what she thought would solve the problem neither of her daughters got what they needed.
If she just would have taken the time to ask a couple of simple questions and then listened, both of her daughters could have gotten what they needed and both girls would have been happy.