Chris Voss is a global corporate negotiation expert; a former FBI hostage negotiator, CEO of the Black Swan Group and author of the national best-seller: "Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It". His company specialises in solving business communication problems, using hostage negotiation solutions.
Chris says the cost of not listening in the corporate world amounts to 70% of opportunities missed.
Chris points out the 'Yes addiction' our society has in its communication, intent on extracting a yes from the other person in the conversation. The single biggest force in decision making is avoiding a loss or rejection, not to accomplish again - simply considering the phrasing of a question can make for more productive conversation.
Chris shares dramatic stories of how listening between the lines saved the day in dangerous negotiations. His bite-sized pieces of wisdom based on years of experience are truly valuable.
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Corine Jansen is a Listening Practitioner in the Netherlands, who strives to make a real difference in the health care system by listening.
Corine’s method focuses on listening and speaking as a human being, to another human being, disregarding all roles of doctor, patient or nurse. Dealing with the topics and issues usually unaddressed in the health care setting brings healing, by helping people be whole again - more than a set of diagnoses.
Chief Listening Officer since 2010, her focus on listening is being used in six hospitals throughout the Netherlands.
Everyone has a story - practitioners as well as patients, and listening to everyone saves mistakes being made, and money being wasted. Corine shares her own experience with illness and how not being listened to perpetuated her time being unwell.
Corine has an inspirational commitment to listening and to the value of human centered care.
Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer for South by Southwest (SXSW). Held annually in Austin, Texas, this event brings together more than 70,000 industry creatives from across the United States, around the world.
These creatives are inspired by nine days of panels, presentations, brainstorming, networking, deal-making, socializing, creating, innovating, and fun. The worlds of film, gaming, music, comedy, science and technology collide at SXSW. Year on year, the conference consistently draws big names as keynote speakers, and creates hundreds of millions of dollars of economic impact.
Hugh is responsible for listening to the feedback of 50,000 people - the attendees of each year's event - and distilling 5,000 ideas into 10 days of action. SXSW places enormous value on listening to the event attendees, sponsors, staff and the community as a whole. Hugh says without this, you lose your relevancy.
Over the course of six weeks, each year Hugh and his team sift through feedback. It gives a fuller picture of the event, as an organiser there are things that didn't go well that you had no idea about. It can be exhausting, especially when the criticisms are sharp. But it is this which helps you get better.
SXSW has a unique voting system to facilitate interaction with the community, the panel picker ensures that anyone with an internet connection can submit a speaking proposal. It also allows users to voting on topics, giving Hugh an idea of what people are really interested in.
It's not just learning and listening from the audience that is crucial - Hugh and his team initiate a dialogue with those who've provided feedback - replying to emails, having a coffee with their attendees. Some of the best advocates for the conference previously had a complaint, but were addressed by Hugh's team and made positive.
[Tweet "This bottom line, which we're so focused on, is listening to your customers. The more you listen, the more you learn - Hugh Forrest"]
A vote of thanks for helping to spread the word to create 100 million Deep Listeners in the world
Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, is a physician at Bellevue Hospital, the oldest public hospital in the USA, and a faculty member of New York University School of Medicine. She writes about medicine and the doctor-patient connection for the New York Times, Slate Magazine, and other publications. Danielle is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Bellevue Literary Review, the first literary journal to arise from a medical setting. She is the author of a collection of books about the world of medicine. Her most recent book is, "What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear."
Danielle highlights just how vital good communication is in the world of medicine. The great majority of malpractice lawsuits stem from miscommunication, far more so than actual errors in clinical practice. This is communication between doctors but importantly, between doctors and their patients.
There is an enormous cost of not listening in medicine. Danielle shares one particular study in which an extra twenty minutes spent between doctor and patient prior to a surgical procedure went on to save those patients from an additional three days in hospital, and reduced the amount of opioid painkillers they required. Leaving aside the health outcomes, the financial impact illustrated by this study is substantial.
Before a patient consultation, Danielle makes sure she has read up on all the relevant notes and charts. In this way she can listen undistracted while they talk, focused and looking at the patient, not looking at charts or a computer screen.
Danielle's research finds that doctors tend to interrupt their patients within eight to ten seconds of their speaking. She also notes that if left uninterrupted, patients will only speak for a minute to ninety seconds - a length of time Danielle thinks we can all aim to listen for! Dedicate a minute to undistracted, 'full frontal listening', and the speaker will give you the information they want to share and that you need. Danielle thinks of it as an investment in the future relationship.
Danielle shares a story of her father's experience in hospital, and how accompanying him gave Danielle a patient's perspective on things. It's very easy for a doctor who sees many patients every day to not listen deeply in each and every interaction, because there are so many. For the patient, however, this time is precious.
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Avraham (Avi) Kluger is a professor of Organisational Behaviour at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the first born of parents who both survived the Holocaust. His award-winning research into the role of feedback in the workplace piqued his interest in the world of listening. In his journey of discovering listening, Avi underwent a dramatic personal change - realising that being properly listened to gives you the space to become your authentic self.
Avi is currently conducting a meta-analysis that examines over 900 previously observed effects of listening. He is distilling the existing body of research, which often focussed on narrow, disparate fields, to uncover the big picture of the impact of listening.
You don't need to be a psychologist to improve the wellbeing of people around you. Avi explains that good listeners help the mental health of speakers - reducing depression and anxiety and increasing a sense of meaning in life.
Listening can, in fact, change somebody's opinion. If you are being well listened to, you will engage with both or more sides of an argument. Whereas if you are being poorly listened to, you will likely double down on one point of view. Avi shares a story of a student who cheated attendance to his classes. Good listening made him realise his own fault in the situation.
Avi also explains that the culture in Israel can be very argumentative and not respectful of listening, demonstrated by a high rate of interruption. This also means, however, that the core of what a person is saying is interrogated, rather than attacking the person themselves.
Before entering the conversation, make the decision to be invested in the other person. Avi says that good listening flows from this single intention.
"A listener shapes, very strongly, the quality of the talking of the other person" - Avi Kluger
Holly Ransom is chief executive of Emergent, a consultancy which specialises in marketing to millennials, a director of Port Adelaide Football Club and a trustee of The Prince's Charities Australia. Holly co-chaired the 2014 Y20 Youth Summit.
Holly explains how to listen to what matters to Millennials, and why young people are missing out by leaving the wisdom of the older generations untapped. Holly shares on how to listen across cultures, both around the world and back home: how can properly listening improve the lives of indigenous Australians? Holly shares the experience of interviewing President Barack Obama. She illustrates the importance that he places on listening, how he made it a habit of his leadership, so that every decision he made was informed by as many different perspectives as possible.
Listening makes good intentions actually effective. Holly tells the story of a trip she took in Africa, where a perfectly functional well for drawing water wasn't being used by the local population. They would instead walk longer and further to another well, taking much needed time away. The well, though functional, had been built in a location of 'bad spirits'. Holly expresses that listening to people could have avoided this, it's an example of how listening can make the difference between good intentions and good outcomes.
Jennifer Brandel began her career in journalism in the early 2000s, reporting for numerous outlets including The New York Times and Vice, picking up awards along the way. In 2011 she founded the groundbreaking audience first series, Curious City at WBEZ in Chicago. Her company, Hearken, was awarded a spot in Matter.vc's accelerator and took home the prize for "Best Bootstrap Company" at SXSW 2016. Jennifer was awarded the 2016 Media Changemaker Prize from the Center for Collaborative Journalism and named one of 30 world-changing women in conscious business.
Andrew Haeg is a veteran journalist and entrepreneur, correspondent for The Economist, founder of the mobile engagement platform GroundSource and co-founder of the Public Insight Network at American Public Media. He has focussed his career on using technology to help newsrooms better listen to their audiences and communities. As a result of this, he aims to make their journalism more reflective of and responsive to the people they serve.
Andrew and Jennifer share their individual experiences as journalists who have come to learn the importance of deep listening. Andrew describes it as the difference between transactional listening and building connections. Rather than listening to take stories from sources, establishing real connections with people allows you to tell the stories of those who would otherwise be uninclined or unable to.
Jennifer speaks to her training which preferenced efficiency and distribution over actual journalism. She was instructed to write stories before going out into the field, then finding quotes to back it up - confirming what she already knew, not discovering new things. This provides minimal ability to tell stories accurately, in fact, Jennifer attributes this way of working to a broken state of journalism globally. Are the stories essentially false, if they're confirming biases? Jennifer chose instead to take longer writing her stories, so she could listen deeper, even if it meant taking on other work to make ends meet.
It's a harder way of working, Andrew describes, to listen properly. However, doing so creates richer stories, and connects communities of people to themselves and others, in a way that journalism based on transactional listening does not.
Bettina Turnbull provides a unique perspective on listening - with expertise in both linguistics and audiology. Bettina has worked in research at the National Acoustic Laboratories, working directly with hearing impaired patients and as a teacher of Audiometry. She has spent the last 5 years introducing hearing care professionals to a client-centered, and more recently, a family-centered approach, which requires an understanding of both the difficulties a hearing loss poses to the ability to listen and the skill to be a good listener.
Bettina shares the story of a visually impaired teacher, who caused her to think about the importance of listening. He wouldn't use a stick, or be assisted by a guide dog, but instead clicked his fingers and listened, to gauge his surroundings.
Bettina's education in linguistics taught her to listen first in order to create, in particular, listening to different sounds. She is multi-lingual, and must listen intently when listening across languages.
As an audiologist, Bettina has strategies to provide the best opportunities for clear speaking and listening: slowing down one's speech, facing people straight on, and situating in a location that is well lit. We can be reluctant to admit we're not listening well, meaning steps aren't taken to remedy it.
With a doctorate in sociocultural and medical anthropology, and a degree in visual design, Michelle Barry has spent the past 20 years pioneering new ways to engage people by understanding the nuances of human behavior, emotions and how to effectively translate culture.
Michelle explains the importance of context for listening, creating the right environment and making the speaker feel comfortable. She begins by drawing the connection between listening and food, why it helps establish contextual cues that direct both the speaker and listener, without them knowing.
Michelle talks about the importance of listening in business environments, where it can combat an otherwise exclusive focus on decision-making. The best results often come from the ability to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, leaving a pause longer than normal and asking the unspoken questions. Similarly, Michelle emphasises that turning off recorders and cameras – giving a speaker the freedom to retract and retry what they have to say – is crucial.
A lesson learned the hard way, Michelle tells the story of a potential client that she misunderstood by not listening deeply, instead being too caught up in the possible outcome of the work.
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