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Apple Award Winning Podcast
Podcast Episode 055: Listening to the research

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In this episode, Oscar and Nell dig into the data on listening with help from researcher Heidi Martin.

1,410 participants were surveyed on listening, and Heidi shares insights both big and small from crunching the numbers.

What are our biggest barriers to listening to others?

What effect do timing and location have on our ability to listen deeply?

How do we better prepare to listen?

Tune in to this episode to find out in what ways this impactful research can help you become a Deep Listener.

Transcript

Deep Listening Episode 55: Listening to the research

Oscar Trimboli:

What frustrates you when other people aren’t listening to you, Susan?

Susan:

They don’t get the full picture. They don’t have a clear understanding of what I am saying or presenting because their mind is too busy thinking about something else and they’re not getting the full content or the richness of what it is that I’m trying to portray.

Oscar Trimboli:

Deep Listening, Impact Beyond Words. I’m Oscar Trimboli and this is the Apple Award Winning Podcast, Deep Listening, designed to move you from an unconscious and distracted listener to a deep and impactful listener. Did you know you spend 55% of your day listening yet only 2% of us have had any training in how to listen. Frustration, misunderstanding, wasted time and opportunity, along with creating poor relationships are just some of the costs of not listening. Each episode of the series is designed to provide you with practicable, actionable, and impactful tips to move you through the five levels of listening. I invite you to visit OscarTrimboli.com/Facebook to learn more about the five levels of listening and how to learn from others who are listening better. Joining me is our co-host Nell Norman-Nott who will ask the questions that you’ve been asking and asking me the questions I haven’t considered to help make you a deep and impactful listener.

Oscar Trimboli:

In this episode of Deep Listening, Impact Beyond Words, we hear from you, the 1410 people who took the time to participate in the deep listening research recently. So I’m really grateful that you took the time and the energy and your focus to provide the feedback. What we want to tell you is we have heard you, we are listening, and we are acting on what you told us. As a result of this survey feedback, we’ve adjusted the design of the podcast, the playing cards, the training, our keynotes, our upcoming three online training courses, the next couple of books in the Deep Listening series and the newsletter. Thanks to you for taking the time to respond to the research. We have heard you and we are listening. You’re probably wondering what was it that we decided to change the research that was distilled by Heidi Martin. We’ve taken a lot more time to expand level one and level two, and we hope this will help you notice which listening villain you are much faster.

So you’re going to hear a third voice and that’s Heidi Martin. So big thank you to Heidi and the team at Audience Instinct, her organisation. She’s a brilliant researcher. She’s incredible at crunching the numbers, and she helped us listen not just to what you say but what you meant.

Heidi is a great role model for level four listening, listening for the answer, as well as level five, listening for meaning. She showed me that throughout the whole project right up front in the briefing process, but all the way through the research itself and right up to now where we interview Heidi as well. Heidi listened deeply to what I was asking whilst asking the questions that I should have asked that I didn’t during the briefing process. Heidi’s mind is like a metal detector, noticing patterns and separating the random dirt from the insightful goal. What I loved about the interview with Heidi and Nell is Heidi challenged me to think even more deeply about level one listening. Challenging me to think about level zero maybe, and the absent listener. Listen out for that part of the research where she talks about what’s involved in getting present before the conversation starts. Equally, Heidi is pretty funny and she’s got a great story about muffins in a cafeteria and how the organisation made a miraculous change just simply by paying attention to the taste of the muffins as well as their price.

Listen carefully as she talks about the role of her own focus and distraction while she’s hanging off the edge of a cliff in Greece being held there by a rope. Let’s listen to Heidi.

Nell Norman-Nott:

I’m super excited that we’ve got Heidi Martin with us today. Heidi and I worked together seven years ago at Yahoo7 and I was so impressed by her because back then we were working on some data for a client, and we had this whole collection of really abstract numbers. And to be honest, I looked at it and was a little bit confused and that’s where Heidi came in, and she really helped distil that information and turn it into this fantastic, insightful story, which we could then feedback to the client to give them some really valuable and useful information. So Heidi came to work with Oscar and I on some research which we conducted with 1400 people about their listening skills. I was so excited when Heidi put her hand up and said, “Look, I’m happy to come and work with you on this.”

Nell Norman: So she’s here today to talk a bit more about that research, about the insights that we’ve pulled out. So welcome Heidi.

Heidi Martin:

Thank you Nell. Happy to be here.

Nell Norman-Nott:

So you’re a facilitator, and a researcher.

Heidi Martin:

I grew up in a research kind of industry and when I went out on my own about four or five years ago you really start to realise that people have a hell of a lot of data. You often come in to come and give us a strategy or give us a piece of research. But at the end of the day a bit of more and more research that people do nothing with is a brilliant waste of money. So, over the last few years I really have developed from being rather than just providing those insights to really helping an organisation take those insights and do something about them.

Heidi Martin: For me that’s why I was super excited to jump on board with this bit of research because market research is kind of listening. But when you can do something about it, and you show that back to your audience, your customers, your visitors, that’s what actually makes them feel heard and that’s what actually makes the organisation successful. So, I think it’s a really brilliant kind of objective of improving listening.

Oscar Trimboli:

Nell, with my work with the Marketing Academy in Australia, whether that’s chief marketing officers or agency leads, the biggest frustration they always talk about is market research that’s never used. They call it the door stop. Hundreds and hundreds of pages when it’s printed out, and it’s never actioned. Whether it’s a customer, somebody visiting your hotel, somebody coming to your petrol station, if you actually take action on what you’re being asked to hear, it really transforms the brand’s relationship and the engagement there, which ironically is one of the reasons why we’re doing the research to make sure that what we’re creating on the Deep Listening Podcast is about what our audience is telling us. So we talk about role modelling, listening while we’re doing the interviews, but we’re also role modelling listening by doing this research, and it’s a big investment but it’s the right investment for our audience and for those that are … the 100 million Deep Listeners in the world that we seek to serve over the next 10, 20, 30 years.

Nell Norman-Nott:

Heidi, you work with corporates and media organisations all across Australia. I’m fascinated to know … When we approached you about this project, and we were talking about it, what was your perspective on listening?

Heidi Martin:

I can see it. I go into places all the time, and you know that the organisation, you talk to … The first thing you do is you talk to all the stakeholders, and I can tell 90% of the answer almost from talking to them and then talking to the customers. But I couldn’t kind of figure out what’s that gap in those organisations, and it’s so funny doing this listening face and realising just how big the challenge is to actually truly listen. It’s kind of that … It’s almost the little missing link and creating that bit of, the insight comes when we actually do that listening piece. This was quite an eye opener for me about the size of the challenge that we have if we’re going to be all better at this.

Nell Norman-Nott:

Can you give us an example of when that happened with a corporate that you were working with?

Heidi Martin:

So a few years ago I started working with the Art Gallery and the cultural organisations it’s an industry that is only just starting to get on board with the listen to your visitor kind of thing. Others were on board, we’re going to … new leadership, data-driven decision making. We are going to need it. Segmentation in the audience strings, okay, okay. Cool. So I’m doing my stakeholder interviews, and you get a sense everyone … Firstly, your natural apprehension is on listening what do I actually need to … What’s the problem I really need to solve that’s half my job. So it’s a natural apprehension that oh you’re going to tell us what art to put on the walls first. Okay, I’m not going to do that. But you know every discussion we had, most of our meetings were in the café. This running joke about the muffins in the café, how bad they were. Then I started doing a little bit of visitor research, and even if we’re not asking about the café, suddenly the muffins come up. And it kind of occurred to me that it’s so much … what I needed wasn’t to deliver a big strategy first off through listening, it was obvious I needed to deliver a quick win. And I realised the problem I needed to solve was those damn muffins. And if I could change those muffins I was going to make it better for the visitors. They’re going to stay longer, they’re going to be happy and I’m going to make surely the staff who were also the visitors in the café, win-win. If I’m going to show them that if we just use a little bit of data to validate, something will change. So in their heads we know the muffins are a problem.

This is a perfect analogy of the whole organisation. We know what’s wrong but nothing is going to change because nothing has. Well I’m going to show there was a little bit of data to validate what you know, it gives confidence to make a decision. We presented some insights to the café operators, I was just hoping to change the muffins within two months. So plans on the table. The café was closed down, and renovated and completely reshaped to address four fundamental challenges that the research and listening to those customers had talks about. And like that I had the okay for the organisation to say okay, we can make a difference by listening and it’s not a bad thing, it’s actually a really good thing. So, that’s a kind of an example of we can sit there and listen and know. They’ve known there was a challenge with the café for years. You know? I thought we’d do something about it. We validate it, we give them a way to make a decision about it, take action and there was measurable improvement. So, that’s kind of … Yeah, sometimes it’s just about muffins.

Oscar Trimboli:

Yeah. And Nell, a great example what we always talk about is stop hearing, and start listening, and the difference between hearing and listening is taking action. And as Heidi has just pointed out, it’s potent, it’s powerful, it’s transformational if you actually act on what people are saying.

Nell Norman-Nott:

Can you attest to the muffins being any better?

Heidi Martin:

The muffins were better. I can’t say they were cheaper, but the idea is about value not price, yeah?

Nell Norman-Nott:

Exactly, I couldn’t agree more. Take us through this research, Heidi, right from the top? Who we interviewed, what those questions were that we asked people?

Heidi Martin:

A beautifully, simple piece of research though we’re looking to uncover what those barriers to listening were through really simple, open-ended questions, which yielded very detailed and just interesting results. So what do you struggle with as a listener? What do you get frustrated with with other people? And what would you like to improve in yourself? That was done across a representative sample across gender. So we’ve got the balanced sample of men and women. It was representative across age group, which lets us slice the data by generation, and it was done across location as well. So a very robust sample you guys provided me with the 1400 potential listeners to understand.

Nell Norman-Nott:

It sounds like there’s always an aha moment in the research when you talk about it like that, Heidi. What was the aha moment when you were looking through the data that we gave you that we collected?

Heidi Martin:

The aha moment for me was my goodness, this isn’t actually about specific listening skills. The challenge starts much, much earlier. The challenge we need to solve is having people mentally available and with the intent to listen because they’re not. And until we resolve that, it doesn’t matter what you want to teach people when they’re in that room. It was … You couldn’t even ignore the evidence. Something like when we look at the numbers. So we sliced the data by your listening villains that you guys talk about, and 80% of the frustrations for people are these lost listeners, right? They’re not in the room that you can even see it. One of the better quotes, I can see it when they’re not listening and they’ve drifted off. It’s physically obvious or when they’re on their mobile phone. Flip it on the other side, 70% of people when we say what do you struggle with yourself? Attention, focus. We like this one, letting my own thoughts get in the way and distract me. Being distracted with other work thoughts. Quietening my own thoughts so I can retain what’s said. We’re not even … This person is lucky. They’re at least trying. So many more people, they’re coming straight with their phone. They’re not even ready to listen. So we need to step right back. We’re not teaching listening skills specifically. We need to teach people to be present and really engage in a conversation first.

Nell Norman-Nott:

That was a really interesting thing that came out of the research was we talk about the five levels of listening and actually it does start with you in the room at the beginning and there’s the four different listening villains, the lost listener that you talked about, the dramatic listener as well. The shroud listener, and the interrupting listener. It sounds like the lost listener is this big one that a lot of people struggle with. But we almost need to revise those listening villains and say there’s an absent listener as well. What do you think about that Oscar?

Oscar Trimboli:

Yeah. What was interesting we kind of posed the question from both perspectives. We asked people what frustrates you when other people aren’t listening to you? Equally we asked the opposite question. And the fascinating thing in the data when we asked the opposite question, what do you struggle with when it comes to listening, is there was in the mirror reflection, which is the point that Heidi talks about. There’s a lack of awareness to the most fundamental question of are you present. Are you still? Are you available to the conversation before you start? So I was delighted that the absent listener was kind of discovered because yeah for a lot of us we can’t even take the time to get ready for the conversation. So, I think the elegance in the survey was asking the question from both perspectives and us not getting mirror responses back, what do you struggle with, what frustrates you. Honestly with 1400 people in the data tracking it should be roughly some kind of symmetry there, but there wasn’t. And the big gap that Heidi points out is this lack of awareness that you actually have to be ready to listen. For most people it was not. I think most people notice it in themselves more than they notice it in others, and that’s okay, it’s what you do about it next, and that’s what the podcast is dedicated to. The other piece that Heidi did a great job of was mapping to levels. For me it was exciting to see 86% of the problem with listening is that level one and level two. And if we want to make a new level we’ll call it level zero, let’s get present.

Let’s understand how to do that. This research has informed the next series of interviews. So we’ve got a lot more people that we’re interviewing who are neuroscientists, people who are experts in attention from the Netherlands, people who are experts in memory from Germany, people who are world champion snipers from Sweden to help people understand what does it mean to be world class when it comes to focus. So that’s me saying to you thank you for listening, but it’s also me saying to you I’ve listened to the research and we’re adjusting what we’re doing in the podcast as a result and I know that would make Heidi a proud muffin moment for her.

Heidi Martin:

It just pleases me, right?

Nell Norman-Nott:

I was going to say we’re changing the muffin mix.

Oscar Trimboli:

One of the things we speculated in advance was do men and women listen differently and do the age groups listen differently? And I’m not going to steal anyone’s thunder but yeah. I’m just channelling the audience right now a bit curious to understand what we discovered.

Heidi Martin:

The most interesting thing to me was there aren’t massive differences between any of these cuts. You kind of want to … You think that there’s some sort of sensational thing we can pull out of here between gender and generations. But that fundamental piece is still there in terms of focus and attention. There are only small differences in terms of say the younger generation are a little bit more. They will say they struggle with the switching off of their phone, for example, of the device itself. But that’s the exact same issue as an old generation. They just might have more things on their mind or multitasking. The issue itself is still focus. It’s still that level one listening to yourself, they’re just slightly different distractions but fundamentally it’s the same overarching principle. The thing that kills me is that people are still in some way aspiring to think that they should be multi-taskers. What would you like to improve? My multitasking, right?

Oscar Trimboli:

Yeah, I hear my clients talk about their multitasking muscle and I need to develop my multitasking muscle, and I’m there trying to explain there’s no such thing. And lucky enough coming up Dr. Romie Mushtaq from Florida in the United States, a neuroscientist and a doctor and a practitioner of mindfulness can not only tell us what the science is but the neuroscience why multitasking is a myth. But I think the data is going to tell us that just as clearly.

Heidi Martin:

A big thing that people are noticing is that people in the room on their phone are visibly absent, they’re clearly attempting to multitask and doing it poorly.

Oscar Trimboli:

I think they’re failing spectacularly. I don’t think they’re doing it poorly at all because again there isn’t an awareness that they believe that’s something they need to develop and it’s a complete myth.

Heidi Martin:

Yeah, I think-

Oscar Trimboli:

Whether I talk to productivity experts, neuroscientists, memory experts and mindful practitioners, every single one of them says if there’s one thing that everyone can do is just bring your presence to the conversation, be still, and be patient.

Heidi Martin:

Yeah. I think I mentioned to you guys when I saw it I just, there’s something wrong with the world, right? We’re just getting busier and busier and we think that we have to do more and more things just to keep up and it’s the paradox of the more things we’re trying to do the less we’re achieving. And the more … Every time you do a bit of research you kind of get a sense of what’s going on that a bit of a read of what’s on people’s minds and we have become overly busy. We think that multitasking is the outcome, but clearly from this research and the work that you’re doing going slower and being present is so much more effective. So much more effective.

Nell Norman-Nott:

How does this play out for you, Heidi, in your day-to-day life?

Heidi Martin:

I think that idea of being present, once I … Funny after doing this research, a few weeks ago I actually just came back from a trip rock climbing in Greece, few of my favourite things. The beauty of rock climbing is it’s an activity that you simply have to be 100% present for. You don’t even have to try. The very nature of it, means that you are present. And there is something really powerful about that and makes me feel … gives me a very amazing feeling. I think there’s also a bit of a parallel. When you’re climbing there’s two of you, two. So between the belayer and the climber you are listening to each other.

Nell Norman-Nott:

What does the belayer do?

Heidi Martin:

The belayer holds the rope to make sure you’re safe when you’re climbing. So, as a belayer when I’ve got someone climbing above me, I’m listening if they’re going to call out. But more than that I’m actually focusing on their body language, how are they climbing, do I feel like they might be falling? Give them enough rope, not too much, et cetera.So, you need to be really attuned in that partnership. Like I said, there’s no net. You don’t have to think about putting the mobile phone away because you’ve got this idea of staying safe and alive to help you. But on the flip side I was put on a climb a little bit harder. It was a cheeky guide. She was wonderful. She put me on a climb that was a grade that I haven’t done for years. I was up there and I fell off about three times. So in this instance I stopped being 100%. I was present but my mind started … your mind starts racing, you know? I sort of remembered I’m going, I can’t do this, and then suddenly I noticed my heads going faster and my heart rate is going faster. For me it’s that sense, and I do it and actually is to breath when you’re losing that presence to come back to the breath, take your time. If you can regulate my breath then the rest starts to regulate and I realised I’m safe. I realised that I’m quite capable of getting over this challenge and I didn’t want to give up, and that I had time. Then that was awesome, right? It’s exactly the same thing being I used that concept of breathing to help be present in every day-to-day situation and fundamentally that’s the foundation of good listening, being present. Your mind is going to run. My mind goes a million places when I’m interviewing someone or doing a bit of research. But I’m constantly bringing myself back, centering myself breathing to give myself the space and to give the person that’s speaking the space that they need to get over what they’re trying to tell me.

Oscar Trimboli:

But you also lecture at university and I’m sure you see that when others are listening to you.

Heidi Martin:

Beginning this year we ran a consulting skills’ workshop with the University of Sydney Business School. Oh my goodness, when people are sitting on laptops to take notes and you’re talking to a room of 50 people that are … They might start out taking notes on laptops but it is just so easy. You can see them one by one following the tab or following the notification and losing that sense of presence. One of the things we’re trying to teach them is you’re going to go into a consulting assignment and you need to go there and listen and really take that information away and to tell that room of folk that are sitting in front of their laptops, I said you know I really encourage you to put the computer away and okay maybe not a pen and paper, that might be a little too analogue. But a tablet in flight mode with a stylist and really get rid of all of those distractions and truly be present.

Oscar Trimboli:

One of the things we promised those in the audience is there’ll be a trick, a tip, or a hack about improving their listening. But I wonder if we might be able to turn the tables. You have been in meetings where you’re taking a brief and you can notice the other person is drifting off. Are there any techniques you use to bring them into the present when you notice they’re distracted?

Heidi Martin:

Sometimes if you’re interviewing someone who quite honestly probably does have somewhere better to be, because I’m often … It’s a really small window of their time and I’ll often say do we need to … If they’re really caught up on their phone I’ll actually just notice it and just say hey, is it … Do you want to … Is there a better time for us to do this because sometimes I haven’t scheduled these meetings. They’re provided for me. People are coming in and out and I’ll give them a way out and then they’ll be like oh, it’s easy to say yes if it’s the case but mostly people will say no, and come back to the room. But also do you know what, often when people drift off, I’m probably not always asking the right question. So letting your … Making sure you have a discussion guide but leaving that aside and following the thoughts that they’re having and having more in tuned questions is really helpful to keep them on track, I think.

Oscar Trimboli:

Heidi, in those moments how do you explore what’s unsaid?

Heidi Martin:

You can tell when someone pauses straight away when you’ve asked a question. It’s like mm, they’re being really mindful of what they’re saying to me right now. So, sometimes I know I can ask that question because I might know them, like mm, that’s a curly one, is there a bit of politics behind that or is there something behind that or am I just making note of myself to figure out what that’s about. I’ll also be really clear to let them know who else I’m speaking to in the organisation or not and so that they feel a safe parameter.

Nell Norman-Nott:

Heidi I’m just wondering if you can take us through the high level insights that came out from their research. And if you’re listening along and you can pause now, just go to OscarTrimboli.com/research, and you can look at some of the graphics and the images there along with what Heidi is saying because that will give you a little bit more information, a bit more detail.

Heidi Martin:

First and foremost, the lost listener by far, by far and away the biggest villain accounting for all of our listening. 80% of frustrations that people had came under the concept of being a lost listener. And flip that on the other side, 70% of people’s own struggles were lost listening. I really love to go back to something that Oscar said earlier around those two things not necessarily mirroring. What I’d like to say is they’re actually they’re two sides of the same coin but people reflect on them differently, right? So you see someone they’re wasting my time. They’re wasting my time and effort. I’m really struggling because they’re so lost, they’re wasting my time, they’re on the phone. What do I struggle with? Maintaining attention. I’m really busy. I’m multitasking. Don’t they know I’ve got a lot of things to do? Have you seen all the things coming on my phone? They’re actually lost their different concepts there again. There’s two sides of the same coin. The biggest way that people express the frustration that they feel is wasted time and effort, right? No one wants to waste their time. I think what was interesting though is the spectrum of response to what that means to some people. The impact of not listening can be really quite almost emotional for some people from yeah they’ve wasted my time. Oh, it’s a little bit disrespectful to another thing of feeling I feel unimportant, I feel disrespected.

Oscar Trimboli:

Yeah. One of my favourite, I call them the arrogant listener is like these people are too silly to fully appreciate how important what I am-

Heidi Martin:

I love that one.

Oscar Trimboli:

Saying and they’re not noticing. The opposite is true too and there was a bit of a leaning, I wouldn’t call it statistically significant in the female gender where women felt they weren’t being heard. They were being ignored in the dialogue.

Heidi Martin:

Absolutely and I think that’s something we’d see a lot of women probably echo in business of not being heard. I thought it was really interesting because we ran an event a couple of weeks ago and one of the executives that I spoke to at that event was talking about interruption and how female executives at a

certain level are taught that to get back into the conversation what they must do is interrupt. And they actually have words that they’re trained to use in certain scenarios and to kind of keep interrupting and to get themselves back into the conversation. There’s even techniques out there on how to stop that.

Oscar Trimboli:

Taking ourselves back into that room at The Hilton in Sydney, Nell, one of the things that’s a responsibility of the leader is to curate that environment. We were very deliberate in having half the room men and half the room women so that dynamic didn’t play out. Even though I had a bit of fun where there were six tables in the room all split 50/50, men and women, except for two where there was 100% men and 100% women to see if there would be any statistically valid or different outcomes. We’ll save that for the next kind of conversation as we deconstruct the Deep Listening workshop. What else is in the research that matters?

Heidi Martin:

The final headline stat that we probably haven’t covered is that, you talked about it earlier, but let’s put a number on it, about 95% of all frustrations, all struggles, they relate to that level one and level two listening.

Oscar Trimboli:

And maybe let’s even say level zero.

Heidi Martin:

And let’s say level zero. We’ve introduced level zero. We’re absolutely … And level zero starts before the room too. We keep talking about presence in the room, it starts with time and place as well. How many people do you know to kind of just have a quick well no, I’m not ready, you know? And being ready in the room. So I was a little bit flawed by just how low down we really are in terms of those listening levels.

Oscar Trimboli:

Hey guys. I wanted to take a quick pause, and before we get too down on the lost listener or the absent listener we have some wonderful tools on the right-hand side of the website, OscarTrimboli.com. It’s a little black and white microphone with a black tab saying send a voicemail. This is a simple way for you to share your thoughts on the podcast and your might choose to pose a question also. If you prefer just to use your mobile phone or your cellphone, just use the voice memo feature of your phone and email a recording, a reflection or a question to podcast@OscarTrimboli.com. Despite the fact we have spent a lot of time in the research discussing the impact of the lost listener and distraction, there are some simple, elegant, and productive ways to make progress. You’re about to hear from two people in completely different situations. They’ve both used the practises from the playing cards from the book and the podcast at level one of Deep Listening and they’ve sent through these recordings to show us how they’ve improved their listening. We’re about to hear from Jason, an in-house recruiter, and Lucy, a newly appointed director for a non-for-profit based in London.

Jason:

Hi Oscar. This is Jason from Melbourne. I wanted to share with you the impact of applying what I learned recently about the power of listening to yourself first. I had an opportunity to apply to an interview the day after one of your sessions. I found my focus on the candidate was more complete than usual. This was done by checking in with myself first. Then managing the distractions while being aware of the times when I wasn’t 100% on the candidate. This led to me being able to hear patterns in what was being was being which in turn led to better questions allowing me to pluck out the truth of what was being said.

Lucy:

Hi Oscar. This is Lucy from London. I wanted to share my story of how I came across Deeper Listening and the impact it’s had for me and for my colleagues when I found the five myths of listening. I went through this before a meeting I had first thing with one of my subordinates. I’m a fairly new director of a charity, so there’s lots for me to still learn of where I can go into problem solving mode quite quickly and get distracted particularly along the conversations and I really wanted to be truly present and to truly listen. Took some of the tips I’d learned, I decluttered before the conversation, turned my phone off, turned off my computer screen. I didn’t read a single email prior to the meeting so I wasn’t in a mind frame of being kind of reactive. I wanted to be totally present. During the conversation I have a tendency of chipping in and trying to problem solve or make someone’s life better by presenting my ideas. But instead I just listened, I asked questions, gave them a chance to explore what they wanted to say and go a bit deeper into what they were trying to say. I try to pick up on cues of when or when they may not be finished. So something I’m not good at is long silences. But I played with this and yeah, allow some space for silence to just make sure that that sentence or that part of that conversation was truly finished before we moved on to the next thing. To be honest, it’s hard a really good impact. We had a deep and rich conversation. We came away with clear actions that were both mutually beneficial for both of us. I felt that she was able to reach conclusions for herself and I got … so she felt valued from the conversation and truly listened to. She’s gone away feeling quite encouraged and motivated. So thanks Oscar.

Oscar Trimboli:

Imagine being a candidate who is being interviewed by a distracted recruiter. What would be the cost for you, the candidate? What would be the cost for the recruiter? What would be the cost for their organisation? Imagine an organisation that takes all their time to create a position description, to publish it, to put it on the internet, to take applications, and then that moment of truth when it gets to the interview the recruiter is completely distracted. They miss some of your answers. They’re not paying attention. I know it sounds completely crazy yet it’s the reality for a lot of rushed recruiters out there. Well done Jason. I’m sure that candidate noticed the difference whether you hired them or not. And you created a great experience for that candidate and I’m sure they’ll tell others about it. Could you feel what it was like to be on the other side of the discussion with Lucy? Did you notice her stillness and her focus simply in the way she made her recording? Well done Lucy. I’m sure you’ve changed the day for that staff member, maybe even more. It sounds like a deeper conversation created a much more productive meeting for you and for them. Level one listening is all about listening to yourself and I’d encourage you to use the tips and the tricks that Jason and Lucy have just applied. Think about how to be in the moment before the moment arrives. How can you notice your distraction before the meeting takes place rather than in the moment where it’s really difficult to fix?

Well done to both of them for taking the time to become present and still so they can make an impact beyond words. I love hearing from you. I encourage you to share your recorded reflections whether that’s about your frustrations or about the progress that we have just heard. Use the voicemail feature on the website that’s got a little button with a microphone there in the middle right of OscarTrimboli.com or simply email a voice memo from your phone at Podcast@OscarTrimboli.com. Let’s go back to Heidi, Nell and I to explore a little bit further than deep listening research and how you can join the dots with the deep listening playing cards.

Nell Norman-Nott:

I feel like there’s a couple of things we’ve got out of this research. So we’ve got the absent listener. We got the level zero. If you were to summarise this research and what it’s given us in a simple couple of sentences, what would you say?

Heidi Martin:

You have a very big job to do but it’s a really exciting one because it’s going to make a huge impact because I really like things where small differences can make big impacts. I’m not in the world of trying really hard for small things. It is if we can give people the tools to be present and intentional, you have unlocked so much more to make a difference for people than anyone who’s going to try and teach listening skills, how to run a meeting, et cetera, because you need to start at level zero, level one and it’s going to have a huge impact.

Oscar Trimboli:

Heidi, you make an extraordinarily valid point about distraction happens before the conversation takes place. And in episode 54, in that distraction episode we got a lot of great feedback and based on the number of people who were going online to get the Deep Listening cards is fantastic. Visit OscarTrimboli.com/cards as a number of people did, and it’s a distraction episode. I want to draw your attention to five cards that sit at level one and they start of with listen to yourself. The tip on the card says clear the space in your own mind before you start to listen to the speaker. Notice your breathing. If there’s one thing you could do is simply breath a little bit more deeply prior and to that. Again, we talk about that on episode 54 around distraction.

The next one is self-talk. How many browser windows have you got open in your own mind and how many do you need to shut down so you’re not noticing a whole bunch of different conversations in your head? It says here the story in the listener’s mind is the self-talk. What’s the story they’re making up in their own head while they’re waiting for the speaker to finish even though they’re not listening. Back to Heidi’s point, the question on the card poses to us is now the right time to have this conversation? And you’ll notice that Heidi mentioned that in one of her consulting assignments where she asked that question to the person who was on the phone. Again, before the conversation even takes place, the next card talks about your surroundings. It says distractions destroy your ability to focus on the speaker and yourself during the dialogue. So limit the distractions that take place and the question opposes is this the right place to have the conversation? There’s been many examples of should the conversation be a walking conversation, should it be in a room that’s very quiet, what happens if you’re in a no compliant office and you’re turning to the person next to you to have that discussion?

The fourth card in the five from level one is to start to notice your breathing. How deeply you’re breathing will influence how well you’re listening. The deeper you breath the deeper you listen. So just hold your breath a little bit longer. Try and work your breathing from your nose in and out through your mouth. I can picture Heidi doing that on the Greek Island rope climb where she was trying to figure out how to breath. I’m sure in that moment when she caught herself, her breathing wasn’t about gasping for air, in through her mouth and out through her mouth. The reality is it’s counterproductive. You actually use more energy that way. And the most natural way to breath is to start through your nose and then out through your mouth. Finally, are you noticing the breathing of the speaker? Once your breathing is still, notice their breathing. In slowing down your breathing you’ll help them to come to a place. Finally once you’re in the conversation, so you notice all four of these cards so far, we haven’t even got to the conversation. So at level one when we look at the deep listening cards, and I invite you to explore them, the deep listening card talks about focus. It says are you noticing all six dimensions of listening? Are you hearing? Are you seeing? Are you feeling? Are you present? Are you respectful? And then finally are you focused? The question you need to pose here, and the card asks this really elegant question, am I completely present in this discussion?

So I’m just so delighted that 1400 people have validated all the cards and the work we’ve done in the past. But equally what’s in the research is going to help us with the next version of the cards and augmenting the cards to go deeper, to go richer, and to be more accessible to you. So I think, Nell and Heidi, I think the deep listening cards are a really practical place for everybody to go to. And again, if you want a summary of the research, OscarTrimboli.com/research, if you want to download all the amazing insights that Heidi has compiled for us. She’s created a transformational platform to launch this rocket ship to get to 100 million listeners faster. For that, I’m incredibly grateful.

Oscar Trimboli:

Hi, it’s Oscar. And if you’re still listening now, you’re probably a really loyal, deep listener. I’m building an online training programme for managers in organisations. So if you’re a manager inside an organisation of more than 500 employees I’d love you to reach out to me. Just send me an email. That’s podcast@OscarTrimboli.com. Podcast@OscarTrimboli.com. We want to involve you in prototyping this online course and you’ll get lifetime access to this course as one of the prototypers. We’re only looking for five people to participate in this prototyping exercise and your input will ensure that what we’re building is something that we’re listening to and helpful for you. Thanks for listening.

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