As the sole proprietor I must sell my product to maintain a healthy business. I recently watched a video that spoke to actively listening which all business owner and sales personnel must do on a day to day basis. Actively listening allows you to clarify any assumptions in a conversation. Recently I had a conversation with a coworker about a responsive email newsletter. He said to me "Tom, why are we changing the look of the newsletter? Isn't that going to upset the managers? and it looks a little gray." I listened to his two questions and statement and quickly realized that he was concerned about the design of the newsletters and how others might feel. I asked him "What would you like it to look like?" then told him "If the other managers dislike the new look then they can come speak with me to resolve their concerns."
I'm glad to see he was concerned for others feelings in the workplace but I needed to dismiss his second question because it is not his concern. I wanted to get to his concern which is the look of the newsletter and how gray it looked. Once I asked him how he would like it to look he became more comfortable with his input and was less concerned about how others felt.
Sometimes you have to sit back and listen to what others and saying to you. Almost as if you need to read between the lines to get to the real problem at hand. Once you start refining your clients or coworkers statements you will be better suited to handle their real issue.