May 12 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

Entrepreneurs and Leaders


Who Listen 


Win Big in Tough Times 



Do you hear what I hear? Listen, do you want to know a secret? Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ears! The Listening Audience. I’m all ears!


You can’t be a better listener just because you decide to listen more. You must also decide to keep quiet. And those who excel at listening skills will tell you that you must actually use a pen and paper (you DO remember what they are?) and write down notes about what you hear. Paraphrasing is critical. So are observation skills.

Plus, taking notes flatters any speaker.

Let’s hit on some key points:


1. PARAPHRASING —“Do I understand you correctly to mean…?” and “What I think I hear you saying is…!” are the most effective and most commonly used sets of words for rephrasing some one’s comments. When you do this, you are in effect checking to make sure that you accurately understand what the speaker intends.

Yes, it takes more time. Yes, it can be harder than assuming. But–in the end– it’s like the carpenter/surgeon slogan: measure twice and cut once. It’s an insurance policy on transmitting accuracy.

2. OBSERVING — You need not be a kinetics expert to see that the body language that accompanies the words spoken either confirms or contradicts what is being said.

Someone who claims a willingness to cooperate with you, but whose arms are crossed is responding defensively regardless of what words she or he uses. Hands on hips, or clasped behind the head are signals of superiority. So is the joining of fingertips on both hands.

(The challenge is to make these postures change without directly addressing them.)

3. NODDING AND VERBAL UTTERANCES — Generally (unless they’re overdone) these physical responses indicate agreement and that the individual involved is paying attention. Not a bad idea to nod and make some positive sounding “um’s” occasionally when you want someone to know you’re tuned in, and in the boat, so to speak.

Equally commitive signals are leaning forward, sitting forward, feet flat on the floor without jiggling, and both hands flat on the table. A jiggling foot or leg indicates that someone’s anxious to get out, get away, finish up.

4. ASKING QUESTIONS — People will know you are interested and engaged when you ask good questions along the way . . . not questions to trip somebody up, questions to learn more. Whenever it’s possible and makes sense and works to clarify, ask for examples. Ask for diagrams. Ask for demonstrations. Ask for samples. Ask.

5. MONITORING YOURSELF — Stay as close to the commonly accepted effective communicator guidelines of speaking 20% of the time and listening 80% of the time. (Asking questions helps.) Take some deep breaths, especially when you start to feel impatient or edgy. Deep breathing helps you stay in control.

The dynamics of all the above apply equally to situations where you are not face-to-face. Telephone and video and webinar conferences are good examples of places to carry over the same disciplines. If you think about it, you’ll also see that similar applications are possible (and advisable) with written/email/text message communications. No, you can’t physically “see” another person, but you can sense and imagine based on responses you get.

If you work to listen better, you will hear 

more “cha-ching” in your cash register! 



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Apr 14 2011






The time it takes to clarify, undo, correct, revise, elaborate on, understand, and check on business information communicated via texting–in order to “get it right”– is greater by far than the amount of time it takes to exchange the correct information in person or by phone.


If you’ve been using straight-on texting to build your business, start over before it’s too late!

Why? Text messages simply fail 100% to communicate anything of value besides numbers, and even those are rarely accurate. And don’t try convincing anyone that LOL or ;<) or I <3 U convey enough emotion.

How words are expressed may be unimportant to teens and pre-teens, but are of major consequence in business, and especially sales (and aren’t ALL small businesspeople salespeople?):

Can you tell from a text message whether the person writing it is paying attention? You can always tell if some one’s paying attention in person. You usually can on SKYPE. And, you can on the phone more often than not. Emails? Probably 50/50.

Text messaging may have a place in the world of communications technology for snappy factual exchanges, and maintaining ongoing contact whenever that’s important.

But texting shouldn’t be relied on for more than that, and –other than some life or death emergency applications– should never be used as the basis for any emotionally-based decision, such as a purchase or personal commitment.


Because text messages by their very nature are incapable of giving you the whole story, or of communicating the focus or attitude or response/reaction of either the sender or the receiver

— and these indicators are at least as important if not more important than the actual words that are sent or received.


By contrast at the very least with emails, for instance, intent and emphasis is possible with various font treatments. Think of texting as a kind of interactive slide-rule. “Just the facts, Ma’am,” said the impatient detective. 

Though I shudder to have to mention the long-lost word, even a FAX (Yowza! Who ever heard of that?) is more communicative than a text message because it allows the sender to include diagrams and use spatial relations to make a point.

Here’s the bottom line:

Good, clear, accurate communications requires time and effort.

In business, to achieve via texting what’s possible by phone or in person would surely start an epidemic of broken thumbs, and probably a new TDD (Texting Deficit Disorder) neurosis. 

“And your insurance provider IS . . .?”


Clear communicating requires two-way transmissions that include feedback and paraphrasing (e.g., “If I understand this point that you’re making correctly, you are saying . . . “ kinds of check-up statements to make sure you got it right).

Clear communicating facilitates question and answer exchanges — sometimes on an interruptive basis to help facilitate understanding of the whole picture, along the way!

So go ahead and use texting. Over-use it at your own peril. Recognize that it fails miserably to give messages their intended meaning, and that it’s no substitute for facial expressions and/or the human voice.

But 4 some of U, there R’nt any better <~~>s 2 go that could B as GR8, so go 4 it . . . but visit or call if you want to give or get a meaningful response!  



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                                        or 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Nov 19 2008

Dump Truck and Bimbettemobile Drivers

Straying off the subject of


business life for tonight . . . 


     A whole lot of driving this week leaves me thinking that — for the first time I can ever remember– it’s time to be prejudiced. 

     First off, if you drive a dump truck and –unlikely though it may be– you are actually reading this, you are not going to like what I have to say. 

     You know the vision most people have when you mention certain careers, like road crew flagger and cone placement professionals? 

     Well, it seems to me after a lifetime of driving every conceivable type of road in thirty different states and dozens of different countries that –generally speaking– dump truck drivers are reckless, power-crazed airheads who harbor secret visions of grandeur imagining themselves as NASCAR champions. 

     Judging by the speeds I often see them traveling, the no-signal lane changing they’re notarious for, they place no value on their lives or anyone elses.  These drivers must have to pass a duh test. 

     Is it possible these people could really be as oblivious to the reality of responsibility that accompanies the operation of relatively inflexible, unstable mega-ton vehicles as they appear to be?

     Well, I know, I shouldn’t pick on dump truck drivers.  They have to make a living too. 

     Okay, let’s move on. 

     Ah, but while I’m on it, there is one worse category of drivers.  I know I should get off of this, but having been the centerpiece of a maniacal four dump truck race on the New Jersey Turnpike earlier today . . . well. 

     So what driver group is worse?  But you shouldn’t need to ask.  Just look around you on the roads.  When’s the last time you saw a 20-35 year-old female driver who wasn’t driving while operating a handheld cellphone (speaking or text-messaging!) and either brushing her hair or smoking a cigarette or picking her teeth (or pimples, eek!) . . . and probably decibelling up her CD player, dancing around, chewing gum (they always chew gum!). 

     Yeah, the same ones with the graduation tassels, dice, baby booties, Native American dream catchers, prisms, and other dangling decorations hanging from the rearview mirrors — you know, those sneaky-peeky little vehicle amenities that make things appear closer than they really are, that are used primarily for guy-watching in the cars and trucks behind them. 

     Yup, lucky me, had one on each side of me this week, champion multitaskers, heading into downtown Wilmington.

     Then there was the double-length Rutgers University bus that nearly ran me off the road tonight as I cruised quietly along at the speed limit on Rt. 1 in New Brunswick.  Probably getting in some last-minute practice for Saturday’s football game traffic.  Ah, well, somehow I managed to survive it all so I can drive some more tomorrow.  Be Safe!     Halalpiar

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