The 90/10 Rule is a listening tool to keep front of mind to improve your executive presence perception as being a good listener, and reducing resistance to your ideas.
This tool consistently improves listening effectiveness. When listening to an idea or proposal, it is very easy to go first to the problems or issues that may be of concern. When those are voiced, it sounds like you are disagreeing with the other person.
More often than not, you agree with 90% of what is being said, so the alternative is to start by saying, “Beth, I agree with 90% of what you are saying. We are completely aligned on that. I agree with what you are trying to accomplish with your proposal. I am concerned that we are not considering the reaction the sales representatives might have to this approach in terms of their compensation. I want to make sure we have a successful rollout, but I need to discuss our options on compensation further before I can get completely behind this.” That way, you’re starting from a place of connection, not separation, even though you’re not totally aligned. Beth now has a better context for your concern.
One key to making this approach work well is the delivery tone of the message. It needs to be reasonably positive and not sound defensive or like an interrogation. The result will be that the other person feels heard, even when you don’t fully agree. You are then more likely to be able to work through an adjustment to your mutual satisfaction.
Remember, sometimes what you look like and sound like speaks so loudly others can’t hear what you are saying. Make sure you know what message you are sending as a listener. Understand how others see you and hear you as a listener and you’ll achieve tremendous authentic executive presence.
From “Listening” chapter of “Seeing Yourself as Others Do” book.