When we “listen for ammunition” we are gathering up data for how we are going to respond.  It also implies a weapon that we are loading to fire back.

We can get so busy capturing the words of the person we are talking with that, ironically, we stop listening to them and go to loading our response gun with the fresh bullets they have given us. Or our gun is already loaded for bear and we are only feigning interest until we can give them our spiel.

Often, if we’ll catch ourselves and put down our weapons of control, anxiety, competition, fear of failure, fear of not filling our quota, or of not making the sale, we will hear things we’ve never heard before.

Surprisingly, when we back off a bit and really listen then, often, the other person will actually take us to where we were trying to get to in the first place.  Especially if they see they can trust us to not twist up and turn what they are trying to say to our own advantage.

They want to work with us or they wouldn’t be talking to us in the first place.

As Steven Covey says, “Seek first to understand, and then, to be understood.”   The “and then,” zone in Covey’s maxim is where we are to be trusting, loving, authentic, and truly interested in our listening.

We must believe there’s a big enough pie for both of us and we can wait our turn for our piece!  And I hope its chocolate cream with real whipping cream on top, or cherry a la mode, or pecan, or…