I had to laugh. One of my readers had spotted in my last post that I mentioned the close attention Bill Clinton gave to each person he met. His energetic focus and powerful concentration gave him presence and influence with his audience. All very seductive.
However my reader pointed out a salient fact that I hadn’t until now been aware of. Bill Clinton wears a large hearing aid! He has to concentrate closely on the person he is talking to since he is also following their facial expression and lips to gain understanding of what they’re saying. By George, talk about making a virtue out of necessity! A Buddhist I used to work with had a saying,”Turn poison into medicine”. Bill Clinton has indeed turned the poison of being hard of hearing into the medicine of a powerfully influential tool making him magnetically attractive.
What magnetises people is a simple gift of attention. To be given that level of attention is deeply pleasurable and profoundly connecting. In “The Trusted Adviser” (Maister, Green and Galford), one of the four principle features of someone you can trust is that they have low self-orientation. They have cleared their minds of any distracting thoughts of themselves to put you at the centre of their attention. However it isn’t just a piercing gaze – that would just make you uncomfortable. It is that they are making themselves receptive to you.
I don’t think people realise how attractive it is to really listen to someone else. Too many times, I have come across men and women who think they have to impress with clever chat or funny stories. They have to be the entertainer. And that strategy might work in the short term. However, the person who gets trusted is the one who listens rather than talks. Who puts you first. Who shows you respect and appreciation. Who wouldn’t trust someone who did that for you.