Here are some of the tips Dr. Goulston offers about listening:
- Listening reduces anxiety—for the listener as well as the speaker.
- Instead of interrupting, say “Tell me more about that.” You’ll get a better result.
- World-class listeners care less about being right than about helping people.
- Not managing your own anxiety makes it hard to listen—and hard for people to listen to you.
- Instead of interrogating people, invite them into a conversation by letting them fill in the blanks in statements.
You can sign up to get free resources, including the first chapter of the book and the Two Questions series at http://www.justlistenthebook.com/resources/.
Tune in next week for a second interview with Mark Goulston.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 127 –
Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast which is brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the Net for networking downloadables.
I’m Priscilla Rice, and I’m coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California, and I am joined on the phone today by the founder and the chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner.
Hello, Ivan. How are you? And who do you have with us today?
I’m doing great, Priscilla. Thank you very much, and I have a good friend of mine, Dr. Mark Goulston. Mark is a psychiatrist, business consultant, executive coach, and, believe it or not, an FBI and police hostage negotiator. He’s done a number of best selling books. And Mark and I met each other a little over a year ago at a very unusual event, a storytelling event, and have gotten to be friends and really love his latest book called Just Listen. And I just want to welcome Mark to the podcast.
Dr. Goulston, great to have you.
Well, glad to be hear, and before we get started, something I want you to listen to and something that I think people on the call can use as long as they use it earnestly. And it’s called the Power Thank You. And the Power Thank You has three parts, and it’s a way of helping people actually feel how much you are grateful to them in this “everyone feels taken for granted” world. And the three parts are:
Thank someone specifically for what they did or maybe a negative thing that they refrained from doing, the effort it took for them to do that, and what it personally means to you. So, Ivan and BNI, here it goes. You reserved time for me to do a podcast especially, really, within a couple weeks of the release of my new book, Just Listen. So that’s very special in terms of getting the word out. In terms of the effort it took, I think that you’re protective of your audience. You want to give them things that are valuable, and so you actually trust that I’ll be able to serve your audience as opposed to wasting their valuable time. And then the third thing, what it personally means to me is, when you’re pursuing ideas and you’re forging new journeys in your life, you hope they’ll help people, but they’re kind of like when you give birth to a baby; you hope it’s intelligent and beautiful, but you just don’t know. And so just the fact that you have this confidence in me really empowers me and emboldens me to keep doing that. So use those power thank you’s in your life, and it will only enhance it.
And it’s something, I think, perfect for a BNI member, because we really talk a lot about the importance of positive reinforcement in the relationships, and I appreciate your comments. Thank you very much. You’re right, the content in these podcasts has to really serve BNI members, and I love your material, and I’m sure that they will feel the same way after they get exposed to it.
So if you don’t mind, let me jump in and ask you, I think, a really good opening question, and that is, why do you thinks it’s so important to listen in order to build a powerful personal network? One of the things I say is that a good networker has two good ears and one mouth, and uses them both proportionately. But you really talk about an active listening process, not just listening, but really connecting with people.
Well, I think the reason being is that, let’s face it, we’re all anxious, and we’re getting even more so, given the current financial climate. And whenever people are anxious, they don’t listen, they shut down, and the problem is anxiety is contagious. And so when you’re coming from anxiety and desperately wanting to make a sale, it triggers anxiety in the other person. And if you ask yourself, “What are two things that lessen anxiety?” Well, when you are listened to, when someone lets you get something off your chest and then doesn’t get impatient with you and doesn’t shut you down, that reduces your anxiety when people listen and care. The second thing is, when you can let go of yourself and being preoccupied and listen to your customer or client for what’s really important to them and serving them, that will not only lessen their anxiety, but it will lessen your anxiety, because instead of coming from a position of selling and being afraid that you’ll lose the sale, you actually come from a position of serving them.
If people go to JustListenTheBook.com, there’s something called Free Resources. This is actually a video clip. It’s kind of funny. I talk about meeting with the CO, who actually was really right on target and needing my services. And what I talk about in the video clip is that there were ten times when I wanted to interrupt him to say something utterly brilliant, but that wouldn’t have served him at all. It would have just been to impress him. And I had this inner conflict, and I can see you chuckling, Ivan, as a kindred spirit, and I said to myself, “Ooh, if I don’t tell him this brilliant thing, I’m going to lose it, even if it ruins the conversation.” And on ten occasions, at the moment I wanted to interrupt him, instead of doing that, I said, “Hey, tell me more about what you just said.”
What was fascinating is every time I said that, it’s almost like he picked up that I was just about to compete with him and chose not to; he went deeper into the conversation and deeper and deeper about what he really needed. And then at the end of those ten times, I just reviewed what he said, and I said, “Is that right?”
And he said, “Yes.” And then he looked at me, and he said, “When can you start?”
Nice, nice. Well done. I wanted to interrupt you two or three times myself, so I’m not going to do that.
Let me ask you a question. What distinguishes world class listeners from the average listener out there?
Well, I think world class listeners realize that they can’t succeed by themselves, and so world class listeners have less of a need to be right and less of a need to win than to move the process of the conversation forward to something that has a mutually satisfying, productive end. So I think they come from a position of literally caring instead of winning, and they’ve had enough experiences that caring in the end will help them win.
It’s interesting. I wanted to call the book Just Care, because a number of people said, “You know, Mark, this isn’t just a book about listening; it’s a book about caring.” And then my publisher said, “Hey, Mark, if you write Just Care, there’s a lot of people who don’t care, and they’re not going to read it. You might be able to get in under the radar if you say Just Listen, and what people will discover in your book is, they’ll discover ways to actually show caring, not only in their business but in their personal life. What they’re going to actually experience is greater success, greater success and fulfillment and satisfaction, and be able to get to the end of their life and say that was a life well lived.
For the listeners here, we’re talking about Mark’s latest book called Just Listen. The forward was by Keith Ferrazzi. It’s a great book. I have it sitting right in front of me, and I really try to limit the number of books I talk about on these podcasts, because I don’t use these podcasts just to go out and market books. I think this book is perfect for BNI members because it fits our philosophy of Givers Gain, caring, and about the importance of listening.
So the Web site that Mark mentioned was JustListenTheBook.com, and there’s a lot of free stuff of there that our members can go to.
We’re running out of time, and I’ve got so many questions for you, Mark. Can you tell me, what do you think are the biggest mistakes that a networker can do regarding listening?
Well, I think the biggest mistake is they don’t manage their anxiety, meaning your anxiety causes you to become pushy, causes you to sort of smile insincerely, and causes you to not listen. I think if you can have the experience of getting where the other person is coming from and caring about them when you get there, what you’re going to feel is they’re more likely to listen to you and let you take them to where you’d like them to go.
In your book, you talk about some tips, like the power of hmmm and fill in the blanks or the impossibility question. What are you talking about? I think those were really interesting. I think the members might find them of value.
Well, in the interest of time, and then people can certainly look and find more, the fill in the blank one is, when you talk to people, when you ask people a question, even if it’s a question as simple like, “What are your goals,” people get flashbacks of being put on the spot about “What was the capital of North Dakota.” By the way, I was told in a talk it’s Bismarck; I didn’t know that. But people will get a flashback of having been interrogated. And if you change the question from “What are your goals for this year; what are you trying to accomplish” to “Your goals for this year are” and then you invite them with your hand as if to invite them to fill in the sentence with you. What you will feel is a different energy as if you’re inviting them into a conversation with you as opposed to interrogating them, where even though it’s a reasonable question, they’re likely to get defensive.
So in your store, if you’re talking to a customer or client who’s looking around, say, “What you’re looking for today is…” And you’ll see they will naturally fill in what that word is, and then you keep leading with that. “And the reason you’re looking for that today…the reason you were thinking of purchasing that today was…” “Oh, I see.” “And the things that you’re looking for, the qualities that are most important about that service or product to you are…” “Oh, I see that also.”
Can you see how that has a different energy feel than just machine gunning people with questions?
Absolutely. Nice. And I talk a lot about the importance of questions when you’re meeting people. Especially meeting them the first time or you want to go deeper in the relationship, learn how to refer them, and the questions are really, really important. So I love this content.
We’re almost out of time. On the Web site that we mentioned, JustListenTheBook.com, you’ve got a lot of free resources that BNI members can use. Two of them were really intriguing, and I wonder if you could just maybe summarize them quickly. Two questions to gain people’s respect and have them treat you better, and two questions to delegate effectively. The first one, in particular, I think may be relevant to BNI. Do you want to explain that?
Yeah, because I’ll tell you, when people trust you, they’ll listen to you, but when people respect you, they’ll trust you and do what you ask them to do. So this is especially helpful in the service business. What you say to the other person is, and you don’t say it out of the gate, but in your conversation, say, “Do I have your permission to step in and protect you from anything or anyone that might do you harm financially?” or whatever service you’re providing.
Most people will say yes; 50% of people will laugh and say, “Thank you.”
And then what you say is, “In the event that the person I most need to protect you from is you, how shall I go about doing that?”
And most people, again, just like you do, because you probably need some protection, Ivan, will say, “Take me aside because I am capable of shooting myself in the foot and all the toes go all over the room. So take me aside because I don’t want to make some of the mistakes I’m capable of making.” And so you repeat that back to them, but can you see the power of that?
I can, absolutely, yeah. No question about that.
Listen, Mark, we’ve gone over time. I’d really like to talk to you more. Can we do a second podcast next week to cover a little bit more material? I particularly want to talk about the transactional versus transformational material you have in the book.
Let’s do that. I’d love to do that.
All right. So for the BNI members listening today, we’re going to continue this conversation in our podcast next week.
Mark, thank you so much for coming on.
Dr. Mark Goulston, author of the book Just Listen. I don’t recommend very many books on BNI podcast. I really recommend this. A lot of free resources. Go to JustListenTheBook.com.
Priscilla, back to you. Thank you very much.
Thank you both very much. That was really interesting. I look forward to next week.
I’d like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com which is the leading site on the Net for networking downloadables. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you’ll join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.