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Just Listen book teaches how to create traction, rather than resistance

It’s a universal source of frustration, experienced by everyone in business, from senior executives to frontline service providers, and everyone who’s in a relationship. We all know what it’s like to need to get through to someone, to try everything—logic, flattery, forcefulness, pleading, screaming—only to keep hitting a brick wall.

Over his career as an organizational consultant, relationship counselor, and hostage-negotiation trainer, Mark Goulston has found what works, consistently, to reach all kinds of people in any type of situation.

  • He discovered that the counter-intuitive step of listening is the real key to getting through. As he explains in his book, Just Listen, his methods succeed because they create traction, rather than resistance.

Backed by clinical findings and real-life experiences, Goulston reveals how to overcome a person’s resistance (even when it’s fueled by outrage) by understanding and responding to his or her hunger for approval. As Goulston demonstrates through a wide range of workplace and relationship-related scenarios, mirroring what others are feeling naturally works wonders to break down their mental barriers and open the way to winning their attention, trust, cooperation, and loyalty.

Just Listen lays out nine basic rules and twelve quick techniques that anyone can use to move tough-to-reach people through what Goulston calls the “Persuasion Cycle”—from resistance to listening, from listening to considering, and gradually all the way to not only “doing,” but “glad they did” and “continuing to do.” By following Goulston’s prescriptions, readers learn how to master the critical communication skills and gain the savvy to:

  • Understand the situation they’ve found themselves in and how to respond quickly to take control.
  • Get their own emotions under control—even when greatly provoked!—and within mere minutes, rewire their brain to listen.
  • Make people “feel felt”—even when taking issue with what the other is feeling—so you can get to each other instead of trying to get the better of each other.
  • Engage a person by being sincerely interested (as opposed to just acting interested) in what someone else has to say.
  • Turn dreaded complainers and obstructers into allies by making them feel important.
  • Stop saying “just calm down” and help people exhale, emotionally and mentally.
  • Be willing to bare your own neck…and know when someone needs an empathy jolt—and deliver it.
  • Move a person to be willing to do what you want by transforming an impersonal relationship into a personal one.
  • Make sincere and meaningful amends with a Power Apology.

Goulston is a psychiatrist, business consultant, executive coach, and a hostage-negotiation trainer for the FBI. A best-selling author whose books include Get Out of Your Own Way and Get Out of Your Own Way at Work, he writes an Internet column on leadership for Fast Company as well as a syndicated column, “Solve Anything with Dr. Mark,” for Tribune Media Services. Frequently called upon to share his expertise with the media, he has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Newsweek, Time, and Reuters; has offered commentary on NPR, CNN, and Fox News; and has appeared on “Oprah” and “The TODAY Show.” He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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