Gain Friends and Influence People by Listening

header 3atbeachGuest Post By Meg Carnes, Porterfield and Carnes Communications

 According to Illuminate, a new book by Nancy Duarte and Patti Sanchez, five communication moments taken together provide a map for transforming your business. Using concrete examples from Starbucks and Apple, plus their own successful company, the authors inspire readers with tested methods to motivate staff and clients to buy-in to your vision.

So, where do you start? How do you introduce a new initiative (or product or venture)?  Referring to this as “the moment of inspiration,” the authors emphasize the need to listen and to pay attention to what we hear. Typically, we ignore this step and instead jump right into explaining the vision in our head.  Big mistake.

Industry research has demonstrated that each year, businesses spend an average of 30 percent of their income to fix mistakes. Many mistakes are made because we don’t listen carefully at the beginning. We make assumptions about our staff and our clients and their wants and needs. If we listen better, we’ll spend fewer dollars mopping up.

Empathetic listening—really paying attention to what people tell you— gives you the keys to develop communication tactics (speeches, stories, ceremonies and symbols) that resonate and create the space for others to understand your vision.  The authors contend this is the secret to moving forward: minus understanding, there’s no support and no real commitment to follow you.

The authors go on to describe  four other“moments” of transformation (decision, bravery, endurance and reflection) and provide lots of helpful examples to develop your communications toolkit.  It’s tempting to jump right into the toolkit. Resist that pull and instead start with the most basic and powerful way to connect—listen.  Just listen.

About the Author: Meg Carnes is a partner in Porterfield & Carnes Communications, a consulting practice focused on building relationships between schools and community.