Refelction, the Key to Influence and Successful Parenting

A key strategy to parenting and influencing others is to be a good listener.

But there is a paradox to this skill because in order to have influence with another, the influencer has to be open to being influenced. Simply stated, the more a person is open to others, the greater is the ability to influence. This may seem a paradox, but if you understand this paradox, you can be more effective in influencing others.

Here is the point: Listening can also refer to oneself. Warren Buffett, the ace stock picker and empire builder, gives credit to his partner, Charlie Munger, for the Orangutan Theory:

“If a smart person goes into a room with an orangutan and explains whatever his or her idea is, the orangutan just sits there eating his banana, and at the end of the conversation, the person explaining comes out smarter.”

What happened? Reflection—the third principle to practice. Your chances of influencing others are greater if you, yourself, are willing to be influenced. The reason is that clarification is the most successful way to influence. And a willingness to listen demonstrates interest in the person you are attempting to influence.