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7 Tips to Listen Better for Your BIGG Success

listening to a conversation | BIGG SuccessAt most schools, you can take a class in speech communication. You’ll learn how to deliver a topic TO an audience.

The College of Communications at most universities are for journalists, advertisers and film makers. They’re all people wanting to communicate TO you.

You can take English to learn how to write. It’s important to be able to express your thoughts TO your readers.

So is it any wonder that, when many people hear the term “communication”, they think about getting their message out?

Yet communication is a two-way process. Where do you learn how to listen?

At BIGG Success, of course! Today, we’ll share 7 tips to listen better for your BIGG success:

Hear George & Mary-Lynn share these 7 tips on The BIGG Success Show podcast. Click a player to listen.


iPhone/iPad Podcast Player

[haiku url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00711-062311.mp3″ title=”The BIGG Success Show #711″]
Think effectiveness, not efficiency

Communication can never be efficient if it’s not effective. Important conversations deserve your complete attention.

Conversations occur between people. People are important. So every conversation is an important one.

So take a deep breath and relax a little before you begin a conversation.

If you simply know you don’t have time, just say so. It’s better to push off a conversation to a time when you can give it the attention it deserves.

Put away the distractions

Yes, we’re talking about your mobile device. Sorry to tell you this, but you can’t truly listen and text or search at the same time. At least we can’t.

But it’s not just mobile devices. You may have been working on something. It’s right there…right in front of you. You’re deep into it when someone approaches you to talk.

Acknowledge them. If you know you can find a stopping point, let them know it will be a few seconds, or a minute, or whatever you think.

If they can’t wait or you know it will be a while, see if you can agree to a later time.

But when you talk with them, physically set everything else aside so you can give them your undivided attention.

By the way, this is just as true for phone calls as it is in the flesh.

Stop the voices in your head

Do you ever form your response while the other person is talking? If you do, you’re human. If you do, you’re like us.

Stop it! Listen.

Force yourself to do it. It will be uncomfortable at first but eventually it will become a habit.

The sound of silence

We cringe at moments of silence [insert pause here]. But they’re not bad. [insert another pause here].

In fact, if you stop the voices in your head, you’ll need moments of silence. They’re the time to formulate your response.

By giving your brain time to process what you’ve heard, you’ll communicate more effectively and efficiently.

Be sincerely interested

Listening requires you to be genuinely interested in what the other person is saying. If you aren’t sincerely interested, and depending on the situation, you have at least three choices:

  • End the conversation

Hey, that’s not nice. But it’s nicer than feigning interest.

Because what do you do when your spouse…oops, we mean the person you’re talking with…ends their thought with a question?

Suddenly, the blood rushes to your head. Your heart starts beating faster. Your head is spinning…what are you going to do?

They’ll know you weren’t listening. Oh no!

  • Change the topic

A better choice may be to change the topic. Introduce something you are interested in or that’s more relevant. But look for cues about whether the person you’re talking with is interested as well.

  • Find a way to make it interesting

Listen is a verb. It implies action. So take action.

Inquire about something they said. Sometimes a conversation is much more interesting when you get below the surface.

Talk is cheap

Or so they say. And maybe they’re right.

Talk is an incredibly small part of communication.

Look for non-verbal cues. What do they convey?

Just make sure you don’t get so busy checking for non-verbal cues that you forget to maintain eye contact. If you do that with the wrong person, you may get slapped!

Understanding the importance of understanding

As an entrepreneurial leader, you must become a great communicator, if you aren’t already. It’s more important than ever in business today.

Dialog can occur without communication. Communication occurs at the point of understanding. When all the parties involved understand each other’s point-of-view, communication has occurred. It leads to BIGG success!

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00711-062311.mp3

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Are You Talking to the Right Person

talking.jpgWe each have a story about a wacky experience on the phone. Unfortunately for us, they’re true stories.

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marylynnI called Michael, our tech guy. I started talking about an issue with which we needed his help. Suddenly, the guy on the other end said, “Who is this?” I said, “It’s Mary-Lynn.” He said, “Oh, hey Mary-Lynn, how are things?” At that point, I didn’t know who was on the other end of the phone! It turns out I had called a different Michael, my old personal trainer.

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georgeI called my parent’s house. A woman answered the phone. I said, “Hey mom, it’s your son.” I asked how she was doing. She said, “Fine.” I asked if dad was there. She said, “Yes, I’ll get him.” A man came to the phone. I started to explain why I was calling. He said, “What are you talking about?” At that moment, I realized I was talking to a dad, but not my dad. Even worse – I had also talked to a mom, but not my mom in the same conversation!

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Consequential conversations

These conversations made us think about how important it is to talk to the right person. In our stories, there weren’t any repercussions. However, there are times when talking to the wrong person can have major consequences.

Nothing gets accomplished by talking to the wrong person. It’s a huge waste of time – for both you and the person to whom you’re talking.

If you’re talking to the wrong person, you may get misdirected. You could become discouraged. You might even lose your focus.

So we want to discuss three situations where it’s important to talk to the right person.

Are you talking to an expert?

A friend of ours says this best. If you want to make a million dollars a year, don’t talk to someone who’s making $999,999!

Don’t seek advice from someone who hasn’t achieved everything you’re trying to achieve. A lot of people like to give their opinions. They may be family or friends. We love them dearly, but they can’t help us if they haven’t done what we’re trying to do.

It doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to offer. It just means you have to filter what they say.

Are you talking to the decision-maker?

This is particularly important when you’re trying to make a sale. By “sale”, we don’t just mean in the typical sense of the word. You may be trying to sell someone on giving you a loan. Can they make the decision? If not, find out who can and talk to them.

This also applies to buying. You may want to negotiate a better deal. Does the person you’re talking to have the authority to give you a better deal? If not, find someone who does.

Are you talking to the person who knows the person to whom you need to talk?

You may not know the person to whom you need to speak. Do you know a person who knows him or her? Do you know The Connector?

If there’s more than one person between you and the person with whom you want to have a conversation, it’s tough. It will probably be more productive to get a direct referral to the person who can help you reach bigg success!

Do you have a funny story of talking to the wrong person?

We sure hope we’re not alone!

Please share your story with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 877.988.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

We thank you so much for reading our post today!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Next time, a member of our community shares what life on his own terms means to him. Please join us. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00382-042809.mp3

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Get Free Publicity for Your Business as a Radio Expert

on_air In another Bigg Success Show Expert Session, we talked with Barbara Rozgonyi from Wired PR Works. Barbara is a consultant and speaker, helping people get more media attention for their business by positioning themselves as experts. Here are some highlights from our conversation:

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georgeEvery business owner today is looking, more than ever, for ways to gain a competitive edge and stand out. Yet we’re reluctant to spend money. So if you can find a way to get publicity for your company, it’s like free advertising.

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marylynnToday, we specifically talked about getting on the radio as an expert. Barbara, you have some great strategies to become a regularly featured expert on a few high profile radio shows.

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barbaraIt’s like anything else when you’re doing communications – you have to have a topic and someone to listen to it. What I’d like to cover is how to get a topic that will get a radio station interested. What is hot? Because when you’re contacting them, you need something that will grab them and their listeners. One way to do that is to diagnose the pain. What are people really having trouble with and how can you help them? I’ve found that there are three easy ways to find out what the hot topics are. Think of yourself as a newsmaker, a trend setter, and a talk tracker.

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georgeI really like that – newsmaker, trend setter, and talk tracker – the three easy ways to get up to speed on your topic.

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barbaraYes, and once you put yourself in the place of someone else, and give yourself some authority in your own mind, it’s easier to assume that position in front of people on the radio or even in your conversations with your clients on a day-to-day basis. Let’s talk about what it means to be a newsmaker. For me, the easiest way to be a newsmaker is to follow who’s making the news. One way to do that is with Google Alerts. Google has this service where you can sign up to track what’s going on with a specific keyword. So for any topic you want, you ask Google to track it for you. Then Google e-mails you a digest of sites and blogs where conversations are going on around your topic. It might be a survey, the results of a test, press releases and blog entries. There will be a summary, too. So you can look at those and collect each one of them so you have an idea of what’s going on right now.

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marylynnThis is how you begin to be the expert who knows what’s going on. You can use Google to get all of these notes and have your finger on the pulse of whatever your specialty is.

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barbaraExactly. That makes you really attractive to a radio show host or even media in general over time.

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marylynn
So, Barbara, now that you’re a newsmaker, how do you find receptive radio stations?

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barbaraThere is a site, Radio-Locator. If you go there, you can type in your zip code or your city and it will give you all the radio stations within the radius that you select. So that would be a good place to start.

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Visit Barbara’s web site, Wired PR Works where she has 500 articles on marketing and public relations. The articles are free and she’ll tell you more about getting free advertising!

In the Expert Session, Barbara shared so much more. She gives a tutorial on setting up Google Alerts, tips on alerts you might want to set up and an example of how to do it. Even better, she doesn’t use “techie talk!”

She also talks about:

  • how to be a trend setter
  • how to tap into the virtual water cooler to listen in on conversations about your industry
  • what you need to promote yourself to radio stations
  • the most important words to tell a radio host that guarantees you'll get more calls
  • what you should have in your promotional package
  • and much, much more in four tracks of about ten minutes each

The Expert Session is available as a digital download for purchase. Click here for The Bigg Success Show Expert Session with Barbara.

Thank you so much for reading our post today. We’ve all heard of “child’s play.” Check in next time when we discuss child’s work. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00269-112008.mp3

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Improve Your Strategic Decision-Making Skills with this Simple Game

which_wayAnita Bruzzese is the author of 45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy. We were fortunate to meet her at a conference we attended a few months back. She had a great post recently, where she discussed a game she played with her kids called, “Which would you rather?”

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georgeWith this game, you present your fellow players with a choice. For instance, I asked Mary-Lynn which she would rather give up for a month – chocolate or her cell phone.

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marylynn That was a tough question, but I would give up chocolate. My phone is my mobile device; there’s no way I could live without it for a month!

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georgeHmmm … Mary-Lynn with no chocolate. I’d plan to be away that month!

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A fun way to keep a conversation going

When we discussed conversation continuers recently, we said that games are one way to keep a conversation going. This is a great example of a game you could play to do that. For example, you could ask … 

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marylynn Who would you rather work for – a boss who’s super-demanding or a boss who’s never around? Anita posed more great questions in her post.

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georgeIf you check out her post, you can see how I answered the questions she asked.

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A fun way to improve strategic decision-making

Decision trees are a great way to visualize possible business strategies, since a business can be thought of as a series of either / or options. Sounds like a ramped-up version of “Which would you rather”, doesn’t it? Question 1 leads to Question 2 and so on.

For example, let’s say you plan to start a restaurant. Play “Which would you rather?”

  • Which would you rather open – a big restaurant or a small restaurant? Let’s say you choose bigg … with two g’s of course!
  • Which would you rather be – part of a franchise system or an independent? You really want to create your own brand, so you want to be independent.
  • Where would you locate – in a strip center or a free-standing building? You could do some research to determine which one seems to work better for restaurants like the one you plan to start.

We could keep going, but you get the idea. The reason you create the decision tree is to see the impact of your choices. For instance, if you chose “franchise” for the second question, they may specify whether you’re inline or free-standing.

A fun way to teach your kids critical entrepreneurial skills

Play this game with your kids and help them develop critical entrepreneurial skills! Just add the “decision tree” dimension one question at a time. So instead of asking your kids to think of one question, ask them to think of three – the initial question and a follow-up question for each of the possible answers. They’ll be thinking like an entrepreneur in no time!

Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

Next time, we’ll examine a highly-touted way to pay off your mortgage early. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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6 Great Ways to Keep a Conversation Going

conversationWhen you meet someone for the first time, the hardest part is usually just getting the conversation started. But sometimes it’s also hard to keep it going.

We did some research and found a lot of articles on the internet about starting a conversation, but few about keeping it going. We also found that many suggestions for conversation starters would probably be better conversation “continuers”.

So we thought we’d focus on that part of the conversation today. 

With some people, it’s tough to keep the conversation going. They may be extremely shy or you might just not “click” with them. In those cases, you may just have to resign yourself that it’s not going to happen and move on.

6 ways to keep the conversation going

One simple way to keep a conversation going is to ask questions. Don’t get too personal. Keep it light-hearted. Also, don’t fire them off so rapidly that the other person starts to feel like they’re being interrogated. We use this one a lot, particularly early in a conversation. But here are six of our favorites ways to keep it going:

#1 – “What’s the best book you’ve read recently?”
Variations could be best movie, TV show, or music they’ve heard.

#2 – Offer up some interesting trivia.
Just don’t go Cliff Claven on them! If you’ve heard something that intrigued you, and it’s germane to the conversation, share it!

For example, we heard not long ago that 80% of all men said they would marry the same woman all over again. However, only 50% of all women said they would marry the same man. Can you see an interesting conversation coming out of that tidbit?

#3 – “If you could trade places with one celebrity, who would it be?”

Variations could be favorite actor, or you could limit it to favorite living actor, etc.

#4 – “If you could do college all over again, what would you get your degree in?”

This question also has many interesting variations. For example, you could ask them what’s the one class they would like to take now.

#5 – “What are you working on that’s fun?”

We heard this one from our friend Chris Brogan. It makes “What do you do?” seem boring, doesn’t it. We loved this question the first time we heard it.

#6 – Create a game.

We like to come up with a word of the night or phrase of the day. It’s an interesting word that naturally came up in the conversation. Ideally, it’s a word or phrase with a double meaning of some sort. Then see how many times it can be worked into the discussion.

What’s your favorite way to keep a conversation going?

 

 

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