Just Listen Again – an interview with Dr. Mark Goulston

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To be a better leader — more able to mobilize others — you must get through to them. The best way to get through to someone is to truly listen.

In order to listen deeply, according to Mark, we must “Listen with a purpose, but without memory or desire” as famed psychoanalyst Wilfred Dion put it. Memory is the agenda of the past, and desire is the agenda of the future. Set both aside, and you can be truly in the moment with the other person.

(And as I reassure executives, your memories and desires will return shortly — you’re not abandoning them.)

This is crucial because any time we listen with an agenda, we listen poorly (so we miss key facts), and the other person doesn’t feel listened to (so we blow our shot at building rapport).

Mark recommends we be a PAL – a Purposeful, Agendaless, Listener.

When you can listen and they feel heard, understood, valued.

Ask:

  • What is my intended outcome?
  • What am I considering doing?
  • Will my contemplated action get me my desired outcome?

Assertive Humility – I need your help with something. There’s something I need to discuss with you, and I don’t have a lot of confidence that I won’t get triggered.

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