LeadershipRelationships

The Two Chairs

By February 26, 2015 No Comments

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Almost two years ago now, Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott came to our church for one of their “Fight Night” events.  I was ecstatic to have them here, not only because their material is fantastic (which it is), and because our people would love them (which they did), but because I really wanted to get to know this amazing couple.

Before this event, I had a few brief phone conversations with Les, but when they came to town, it was the first time I really had a chance to talk with them at any length.  Wendy and I agreed to meet them for dinner before the event, and I was nervous.  Les and Leslie are New York Times best-selling authors.  They have spent their entire life as top-level experts in the field of couples work.  What do you talk about over dinner with best-selling authors?

I tried to think ahead of time of some brilliant questions and intelligent topics I could raise, just so I wouldn’t be a completely dull dinner companion.  Those questions and topics, it turned out, were completely unneeded.  Les and Leslie had a completely different conversational agenda.  They asked us questions.

How long had Wendy and I been married?  How old were our girls?  What did they like to do?  What was our ministry like at NewSpring?  How had the church grown so quickly?  What do couples at NewSpring need to hear especially?  How was my writing coming along?  What was next on the horizon for couples ministry at NewSpring?

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Walking out of the restaurant, I realized that the entire conversation that night had turned out to be the opposite of what I had expected.  I had expected to get Les and Leslie to talk about themselves, their work, their passions, and their future.  They reversed it… and got us talking about our lives.

What was interesting about that unexpected dynamic was that I left the restaurant feeling as though Wendy and I had made a real connection with Les and Leslie.  They made us feel valued by shifting the focus of the conversation from them to us.

I realized afterward that great conversationalists always do this.  They flip the interview.

Powerful communicators 'flip the interview' and direct attention toward the other person. Click To Tweet

I studied broadcasting in college, and as a result, I participated in the filming of several video interviews.  Usually there were two chairs… an interviewer chair and an interviewee chair.  The interviewer’s job was to ask all the questions… the better they were at asking questions, the better an interviewer they were considered to be.  The person sitting in the other chair was the focal point of the interview.  Their answers were the reason people were watching the video.  They were the center of attention.

Great conversationalists force a seat change.  They arrive expected to sit in the interviewee chair and become the center of attention.  Instead, they choose to assume the role of interviewer, asking questions instead of answering them.  And great conversationalists are always amazing at asking great questions.

Great conversationalists are great interviewers. Click To Tweet

Why do people like Les and Leslie force a seat change?  Because they understand one of the most underrated truths about communicating… listening communicates value.  When we talk about ourselves we communicate how much we value our own experience.  When we ask questions and listen to the other person, we show how much we value their experience.

Which chair do you usually sit in?  Imagine how valued other people in your world would feel if you forced a seat change.

The Blindfolded Marriage will help you understand the root issues that create difficulty and conflict in your marriage. Full of practical insight you can start using right away, Jonathan's book will both equip and inspire you to take your relationship to the next level.

Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott | Authors of "The Good Fight"

This book will give you clarity in marriage that will be an impetus and help drive the desire to be healthier as husband and wife. ...Read this book, I promise you will recommend it to your friends.

Johnny M. Hunt | Former President, Southern Baptist Convention Pastor, First Baptist Church Woodstock, GA

Jonathan's insights into marital breakdowns and marital repair are both profound AND easily understood. To take such difficult issues and put them into accessible stories and metaphors that speak to both genders makes this book a rarity among marriage books. Whether your marriage is good and you want to make it better, or if it feels like the wheels came off about 5 miles ago, this book will help everyone along that spectrum.

Anita Renfroe | Speaker, Author

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about Jonathan

Jonathan Hoover is the associate pastor and couples pastor at NewSpring Church in Wichita, KS, and the author of The Blindfolded Marriage.

As an author, communicator, and sought after marriage coach, Jonathan has shared God’s message of hope, love and encouragement with thousands of individuals.

Jonathan and Wendy have been married for 12 years, and they have two precious daughters, Cheyenne and Summer.

Get my book, "Fight-Proof Your Marriage," right now for FREE!

If you are looking for real-life and grounded help for navigating the inevitable conflicts we all have in marriage, don’t miss out on the message of this book by Jonathan Hoover. It’s vulnerable, poignant and practical. Do yourself – and your relationship – a favor and read this book!

Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott Authors of Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts