One of the most useful and important tools in a magicians arsenal is misdirection. Misdirection is generally misunderstood by the layman. Misdirection is not making you look at something while the magician is doing the sneaky stuff elsewhere. While that is the popular conception of misdirection it is woefully inadequate. Misdirection is letting you see what you anything you want to see. in fact you see so much that it is difficult to decide what is important. Because choosing what is important is difficult the magician “helps” you decide. Of course he directs you to what is interesting rather than important.
Your customers, employees, and co-workers often will misdirect or confuse you. Unlike the magician their misdirection is usually not intended. The misdirection is the result of mistrust. They believe that if they are open and honest with you, you will cheat them. So they believes they must be cautious. The obvious solution is to build trust. But that occurs over time. So what do you do in the mean time? You can easily misjudge the importance of a thing. So how do you guard against misdirection? How can you tell what is truly important rather than simply interesting? Waiting until the trick is over or the contract is signed is too late. Because what is thought to be unimportant it is not remembered. Why should it be? You thought it was unimportant.
During a magic trick the magician moves relentlessly through the routine making your mind both process what just happened and at the same time trying to keep up with what is currently happening. All that information is difficult to process. Unlike a magic trick, we can stop an customer, employee or co-worker and test what we believe is important. This allows us to identify potential problem areas before they are agreed to
The best tool I found for stopping the misdirection is to simply rephrasing what the person said, in your words, with your inflection, and your understanding. Then asking the simple question “Is that correct?”
Try it I think you will find it works magic for you.