Just Listen

One of the books I’ve enjoyed in the past few years is called “Just Listen: The Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone” by Mark Goulston.  The author is a psychologist who has had success in  hostage negotiations.

Much of what captivates me about this book is that the basic premise challenges many of my key instincts as a manager. Specifically it pushes me to to stop telling, directing and generally babbling on and switch to listening.

There is a lot of valuable information in this book that I return to but for a start, here are some of his ideas for getting through.

Almost all focus on making the other person feel heard but the last is an interesting twist on letting the “listener” step into the picture.

  • The first thing is to get your own emotions under control and move from panic mode to solution mode while taking time to acknowledge the emotions along the way.
  •  Rewire yourself to listen and get rid of your filters which include the early [negative] impressions of a person.
  • Make the other person feel “felt” without responding with your own opinions
  • Be more interested than interesting.  He posits that the more you talk about yourself the more of a mark of insecurity that is.
  • Make people feel valuable.
  • Help people to exhale emotionally and mentally
  • When all seems lost, bare your neck
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