Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Analyzing the example from the previous paragraph of what made the merchant to do what he had done, we find the answer: he put himself in customer’s shoes. He thought of the trips the customer had to make to post office, the problems that could arise during shipping (packages do get lost, with all the tracking systems, even more often than they used to), customer’s disappointment with arrived package and possibility of future lost business with this client. The solution came from understanding and knowing from experience on how customers react to certain things in merchant-client relationships. Thus, by understanding the customer, the merchant was understood by many more people as reliable and trustworthy. It would have turned in much more than $50 in advertising costs should the merchant convey that same message by any other means.
Surely, understanding your peers is just as important as understanding customers. Peers usually see your performance from the side, so while not being in the middle of the things, they could be a perfect source of wisdom at that precise moment when you need that “How does it look?” opinion. Understanding their point of view, listening to their perception of things is very important for understanding how to be heard and pass your message around. And knowing that people will listen to you and understand what you are saying leads us to the next habit.