Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone

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Why did I choose this resource?

I chose this resource to learn how to communicate and get through to anyone I need to.  This is beneficial to my professional relationships as well as my personal ones.

What did you learn from it?

I learned how to compel others to do what I would like them to do by following and understanding the Persuasion cycle. I also learned how to make a person become comfortable and familiar with me, as well as trust me. Lastly, I learned the use and execution of The Impossibility Question, The Magic Paradox, and the highly effective question, ‘Do you really believe that?’

Key Knowledge

  • Persuasion Cycle – Not about what you tell someone, but what someone tells you.
    • Resisting to listening
    • Listening to considering
  • At this stage you have achieved a buy-in.
  • Considering to willing to do
  • Willing to do to doing
  • Doing to glad they did and continuing to do
  • Three main layers to the brain
    • Lower – Reptilian brain – fight-or-flight
    • Middle – Mammal brain – emotions
    • Upper – Primate brain – logic and rational
      • Collects and analyzes information from the other parts of the brain and makes a sensible and ethical decision.
      • Must talk to this part of the brain!
  • Most important key to diffusing a stressful situation and successfully communicating is to keep your thoughts and emotions under control.
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes so you can try to understand where they are coming from. This helps the person to open up to you and your ideas.
  • It is more important be interested in and to listen to a person than it is to impress them.
  • Make someone feel special and they will want to do the same for you. Best used on people who are irritating to you because that person is usually feeling the world is not treating them good enough and they do not matter; so you make them feel important and fulfill that desire.
  • Help a person to exhale their stress away, give them an environment to just breathe. This will open them up to solutions to their problems and potentially prevent them from happening again; as well as create a link between you and them that will open up lines of communication.
  • Dissonance is a connection killer. It is very hard to see yourself how someone else does so you must get help. Close friends and family you trust are best to assist in understanding how others perceive you.
  • It is okay to ask for help, this does not show weakness. Better if done before there is a problem, but better to ask after than not at all.
  • There are people out there that will only hinder you; Needy people, bullies, takers and narcissists. You need to get rid of their power over you and there are three ways how: Confront them, neutralize them and walk away, be certain they are not following you.
  • The Impossibility Question: Used to help move a person from resisting to listening.
    • “What is something that would be impossible to do, but if you could do it, would dramatically increase your success?”
    • “What would make it possible?”
    • These questions will open a person up to rational thought and help them see your vision.
  • The Magic Paradox: Starts the Persuasion Cycle
    • Empathize with the persons negative thoughts
    • Ex: “I’ll bet you feel that nobody can possibly understand …..”
    • Helps the person to connect with you because you do understand them.
  • ‘Do you really believe that?’
    • Best used when a person is so upset they believe there is no solution to a problem.
    • When asked directly and calmly the person will usually take a minute and re-evaluate to find the problem is not that bad and say so.
    • Next, “I understand that, but I need to know what the truth is, because if what you say is totally true, then we have a serious problem and need to address it.”
    • At this point you are in control and the person is listening to you.
  • When you are in front of a very upset person who is taking their anger out on you, respond with, “Hmmm…..” This is a way to let the person get their angry thoughts out and show you care about them and their problem. This will move the conversation from talking at each other to talking with each other.
  • You can learn a lot about someone and gain their trust by working side-by-side. This is a much more comfortable environment for a person and therefore they are more likely to open up. Three major things to never do: Don’t violate their trust, don’t use this as an opportunity to dig for negative information, and don’t argue with this person.
  • Asking questions can be good when executed at the right time, but a better approach to entice someone you are unfamiliar with into a conversation is to use the fill-in-the-blank method.
    • Ex: “You are reading this book to learn how to ________. And the reason it’s important to learn how to do that now is _______.”
  • The biggest blunder you can do is ask for too little. Keep pushing forward until you hear a “no.”
    • Once you have reached this point, you can now ask something like, “I either pushed too hard or failed to address something that was important to you, didn’t I?”
    • A person will usually agree with you and now you have them subconsciously wanting to agree with you.
    • You can now use the fill-in-the-blank method to see where you went wrong. This will also help the person decompress and tell you what they want or need, and thus help you turn their “no” into a “yes.”
  • The Power Thank You: When used, you convey a strong sense of gratefulness and empathy.
    • Thank a person for something specific
    • Recognize the effort that was put forth by the person
    • Inform the person of the positive impact they had on you because of what they did
  • The Power Apology: The 4 Rs – Only to be used once!
    • Remorse – Show the person you are aware you hurt them and let them vent.
    • Restitution – Find a way to compensate for your wrong doings, if only fractionally
    • Rehabilitation – Use your actions to show you have learned your lesson
    • Requesting Forgiveness – To gain full forgiveness, your new actions must continue until they become a part of you.
  • Forgiveness is not always achievable even after you’ve taken the previous steps. In this case the person is someone who is unforgiving and you need to let it go.

How are you using what you learned?

I am using what I learned to help me communicate and succeed in having someone accept and agree to what I would like them to understand or do. I am using this in the workplace as well as at home. I am also using this to diffuse all altercations with individuals so we may move forward constructively.

Key Changes / Key Actions

  • Stay calm and breathe in stressful situations.
  • Try to truly understand others.
  • Study and implement the Persuasion Cycle whenever I need to convince others to do what I want.


  • Name : Just Listen
  • Author : Mark Goulston
  • Summary.com: Link to Book

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