Finding common ground (2)
“I have voluntarily become a servant to…all.” 1Co 9:19 MSG
Whether you’re applying for a job, trying to win someone to Christ, counseling and advising, or correcting someone’s behavior, to be effective you must look for common ground. Let’s look at some of the qualities that calls for. Availability. Paul writes: “I have voluntarily become a servant to…all…to reach a wide range of people.” Establishing areas of common interest takes time. It also takes effort. It’s been reported that today a typical business executive has an on-the-job attention span of six minutes. That’s pathetic! In six minutes a person can hardly get his or her feet on the ground, much less find common ground. Identifying areas you can agree on calls for empathy and a willingness to listen to what the other person has to say. In her book How to Talk So People Listen, Sonya Hamlin reports that most people find this challenging because of the “Me-First Factor.” She writes: “Listening requires giving up our favorite human pastime—involvement in ourselves and our own self-interest. It’s our primary, entirely human focus. And it’s where our motivation to do anything comes from. With this as a base, can you see what a problem is created when we’re asked to listen to someone else?” So, what’s the solution? First of all it’s essential to acknowledge and answer two of the listener’s instinctive, unspoken questions, which are: “Why should I listen to you? What’s in it for me if I let you in?” Anytime you’re willing to listen to people and figure out how what you’re offering meets their needs, you are halfway toward your goal of finding common ground.