The most comprehensive listening book
Nicole Lowenbraun and Maegan Stephens, authors of the book "Adaptive Listening: How to Cultivate Trust and Traction at Work,"
Apple Award Winning Podcast
Podcast Episode 122: adaptive workplace listening and why its different from active listening

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Active listening isn’t enough. It’s time for Adaptive Listening

Nicole Lowenbraun and Maegan Stephens, authors of the book “Adaptive Listening: How to Cultivate Trust and Traction at Work,” explain the impact of adapting your listening in the a corporate workplace.

They introduce the SAID listening model, which stands for Support, Advance, Immerse, and Discern, each representing a specific listening style and goal. They emphasize that everyone has a unique listening style and good intentions but may not always meet the speaker’s needs.

Nicole, a content director, and executive speaker coach, highlights the necessity of adapting your listening style based on the speaker’s requirements. Maegan, a senior director of communication services, shares her experiences in coaching executives and the challenges of listening and providing feedback tailored to executive leaders.

They delve into their three-year journey of writing the book, emphasizing the need for detailed, actionable steps and memorable models for effective communication.

They discuss the complexities of discernment in the workplace and offer insights into guiding others to listen effectively and seek the right type of listening in different situations.






As a bonus, listen to Nicole, Maegan, and Oscar debrief on the process of listening during the recording of this discussion.



00:23 Oscar Trimboli

Adaptive workplace listening and why it’s different from active listening. In this episode of Deep Listening: Impact Beyond Words, we hear from Nicole Lowenbraun and Maegan Stephens, the author of the book, Adaptive Listening: How to Cultivate Trust and Traction at Work. In their book, they skillfully build on the foundation of active listening and explain why it’s important to adapt your listening in the workplace. They discussed why you need to understand the speaker’s needs from yours as a listener, and then your ability to adjust and adapt to support the speaker’s requirements during that discussion.


During our conversation, they introduced the workplace origins of the SAID model S-A-I-D. The SAID, a listening model and their individual components of Support, Advance, Immerse and Discern, thus SAID, each component relates to the speaker’s needs and the adaption or the adjustment the listener needs to make to serve. What I love about this conversation is Nicole and Maegan’s enthusiasm, deep research, and willingness to be playful with the model.


Ironically, during the process of writing the book, they needed to adapt the way they thought about listening and thus the ADAPT model. We’re listening to you. At the end of this discussion, we’ll explain how five of you can win a copy of the book, Adaptive Listening: How to Cultivate Trust and Traction at Work. Please listen now for the instructions a little later on. At the end, we’ve got an extended bonus where we discuss the process of my listening before and during the conversation and how that supported Maegan and Nicole to be successful in our conversation. We also unpack the check-in process and a bit of self-reflection for Maegan and Nicole about what they would adapt and amplify in their story. Today’s discussion is a little bit different, given there are three voices rather than two. I’ve asked Nicole and Maegan to introduce themselves to help you get use to the sound of their voices.


02:55 Nicole Lowenbraun

My name is Nicole Lowenbraun. I am a content director and an executive speaker coach with Duarte, Inc.


03:03 Maegan Stephens

My name is Maegan Stephens. I’m a senior director of Communication Services at Duarte, Inc.


03:08 Oscar Trimboli

Maegan, what’s the cost of not listening?


03:10 Maegan Stephens

When you don’t listen the right way at work, deadlines get missed. People no longer want to come to you and seek you out for support. Promotion opportunities fly right by and you’re not thought of for those moments because others don’t see you as the person that’s helping them get what they need. Not listening the right way hurts a lot of people around you, but it also just makes your workday harder for you yourself as a listener. If you don’t listen the right way, you’ve just made more work for yourself.

03:38 Oscar Trimboli



03:39 Nicole Lowenbraun

Our contention is that people in the workplace are usually listening. A lot of people think, “If this person is listening to me in a way that’s different from the way that I listen, that they’re not listening at all.” And our research has shown that’s just not true. Everybody shows up with a different listening style, and they have good intentions. Now, do some people forget to turn off their notifications? Are they multitasking? Yes, of course. We know that that happens. We’re all trying to multitask even though the research shows that humans are terrible at doing that. But most of the time the intention is there. They’re just not listening in a way that the person speaking needs them to listen in that moment.


And I can tell you based on what Maegan said, she is my manager, and the times when she showed up to give me advice, that’s exactly what I’ve needed. But over the years, she’s also learned how when I show up and I say,

“Maegan, I just came from a horrible client meeting,” she knows even though we have things to get done in our one-on-one, that is not the time for her to give me advice. It’s not the time to create momentum and move things forward. That’s the time when she needs to allow me to vent, she needs to validate my emotions, and she needs to think about what I need as a speaker in that moment even though that goes against her natural instinct as a listener.

05:05 Oscar Trimboli

Nicole, your background as a speech pathologist probably makes you an ideal person to write a book about listening. How is your background your superpower?


05:16 Nicole Lowenbraun

My master’s degree is in communication disorders, so I come from speech and language pathology has a mix of education, health and science. I’ve taken a combination of education classes and even neurology classes. I come from it with a little bit of an interest in diagnosing people. When some listeners listen to me as I’m speaking, I try to uncover what is their listening style.


05:45 Oscar Trimboli

And 10,000 hours, as somebody who’s listened to executive speaking, Nicole, how has that informed how you listen?


05:56 Nicole Lowenbraun

For the last several decades, working mostly with executives on expressive communication, how they write and how they speak. In order to help someone craft their message to an audience, we have to gather an obscene amount of information. We have what we call at Duarte discovery meetings with our clients and we involve the speaker and their larger stakeholder team, their communication team, sometimes the marketing team, the events team. We have a lot of information to gather so that we can help them move that presentation or that sales deck forward sales.


We have to listen in different ways at different times to know how to help that person. Sometimes when we show up to a client, they’re talking about how terrible their existing sales deck is. And so first as a listener, I have to validate those emotions. I have to listen to gather as much information as possible so I can understand the problem at hand and I can help them diagnose it. I have to help them uncover what’s working and what’s not working so I can help them move it forward. We have to be all kinds of listeners at all different times in order to get our executive clients exactly what they’re looking for, and that requires us to adapt sometimes moment to moment and not just meeting to meeting or deliverable to deliverable. It happens very quickly in the corporate environment.


07:26 Oscar Trimboli

Maegan, how has your background informed the work as somebody who’s helping executives deliver powerful, impactful communication?


07:36 Maegan Stephens

As someone with a PhD in communication, I have been researching communication in various forms for many years. I also teach college classes and communication before I left academia and went over to industry. What’s unique about executives that I’ve worked with is almost all of them will tell you, “I like feedback. Get me straight to the point. Make me better.” And then they forget that they also have egos and emotions and they don’t really want me to give them all of the feedback of the thing I just saw, and it took years of nuance. No one trained me in this nuance.

This is a learn by doing job.

You get in the room and you realize you just gave too much feedback and now the whole interaction has gotten tense and they’ve withdrawn and now I’m no longer going to be able to meet my goals.


A lot of the listening came down to watching for those nonverbal cues, looking to see how receptive they are to a little piece of feedback before you can give them a lot, paying attention over the course of a multi-month, multi quarter, multi-year coaching relationship and realizing,


“Actually, this leader can take it.” I’m going to tell you everything I didn’t like in that talk.

“And this leader, it’s not going to go over so well.” So I need to adapt the way I approach the feedback I’m going to give, even though for both types of leaders the end result’s the same, I want you to get better. How I help you get better is going to be different. You’re both going to need a different pathway.


And a lot of self-reflection goes into coaching and listening in general. Every day after I finish my day, I think about various places where I listen to that day. And I’ve usually gotten at least one wrong and I wrote a book on it and I’m still going, “Oh, man. Ugh.” And it is common for me to reach out and apologize to people. I am routinely apologizing for how I got it wrong and how I want to do it better because I didn’t realize it in the middle of my 10 back-to-back meetings where I couldn’t even go to the bathroom that day. But when I sat down at the end of my day and put my feet up, I thought, “Ooh, I was a really bad listener from 1:00 to 1:30. I’m going to just send a note and apologize to that person.”


09:44 Oscar Trimboli

Maegan, three years to write a book. What surprised you in the process and the research?


09:50 Maegan Stephens

Part of the difficulty of Nicole and I living strong listening skills every day as part of our job, we would not be successful if we weren’t really good at listening to client needs and figuring out what to give them, is that a lot of the techniques we had developed internally we thought were just obvious. “Of course, this is what you’re supposed to do.”


Having to step back and dissect why did it work, why was that a good one. I parse it out and make it a teachable skill for someone else.


That was so much harder than either one of us was prepared for. It’s part of the reason it wasn’t a two-year project, it was a three year as often happens when one writes a book.


But we would have feedback from people we would test with and they go, “Okay, I hear you. How do I become a discerned listener if I’m not?” I go,


“Well, you just do it. Well, just do it.”


Having to give someone, “It’s these three steps, but it’s this fourth step in this situation, not that situation” required a lot of mind mapping and shuffling of sticky notes and then recruiting people to test that out with us and making sure it worked in an actual work situation and then slap in an example on it to bring it to life and writing.


There was a lot of that back and forth and testing and nuance that was hard for people who just kind of figured it out along the way themselves.


11:114 Oscar Trimboli


Nicole, anything to build on that?


11:16 Nicole Lowenbraun

There were things that surprised me in the actual writing, and that was the level of detail that we realized we needed to make this real for people.


Stories became really important, but also memorable, actionable steps for each of the listening goals that a speaker might have.

We’re used to writing speeches.

We’re writing speeches that are 15 or 20 minutes.


Our job is to give the gist, the high level, to be direct, to be motivational and to be persuasive. In this book, we had to do all of those things, but we had to give so much more detail than we expected to give so that people could take this and use it.


It’s really different to read something and go in depth with it than it is to deliver a talk and have that interpersonal communication between speaker and listener. It’s different when you’re writing for the written word and you have to give all of those details so people can take this without you and they can do this on their own.


That was a surprise to us. We realized for every sentence we write, we have to write five or six more sentences to detail what we mean.

We have to give a story to make it real and we have to give a chart with a model so that people can remember this.

We think that most of the people out there teaching communication, they’re our peers.


We love them.


We are all out to change how the world communicates, but we found that a lot of the existing models we’re simply not memorable. And that’s why when we created ours, we said, “Let’s build something that someone could easily use tomorrow, they could use in their next interaction.” Even if they don’t memorize the 250 plus pages in this book and they don’t know what to do, what exactly to do every single time, at least they have the gist of the adaptive listening methodology and it’s easy for them to remember and replicate.


13:17 Oscar Trimboli

The most powerful insight I took away from the book Adaptive Listening was the SAID model. It’s memorable, it’s repeatable, and it’s easy to transmit to somebody who’s never done the training.


Maegan, help us unpack what does that mean.


13:35 Maegan Stephens

When you are entering a listening situation, you come with your own listening style and the person who’s speaking to you comes with a listening goal.


We analyzed various situations in the workplace, times when you’re speaking and listening.

And we were able to pare it down to four goals and four styles that match to each other, and those are Support, Advance, Immerse, and Discern. For each one of those words, they are both a listening style and a listening goal.


The good news is everyone has a style or a combination of styles, which means you are always meeting someone’s goal sometime. Now, it might not be the right person’s goal at the right time, but you have the capacity to meet some of those goals.


To give you a breakdown across each of those terms, when someone is a support listener, it means when they’re listening, they prioritize emotion.


Support listeners seem to be very good at almost instinctually or over the years they’ve learned to validate emotions.


Now, when someone has a support listening goal, what they need is emotional validation.


It is the priority for them.


Maybe they’re in a heightened state, maybe the power dynamic of who they’re talking to made something really rattle in them, and so it is their emotions that are front and center of the goal in that interaction, so that’s support.


14:57 Nicole Lowenbraun

Advance is the A in SAID listening styles and advanced listeners are folks that prioritize forward momentum.


They’re looking to move processes, projects, and people forward to the next step. That’s great if that’s what the speaker needs from you. So again, you’ve got to walk into an interaction and ask yourself, “What does this person need from me?” If the answer is, “They need me to move things forward,” then advanced listening is the right SAID listening goal.


Sometimes if you’re an advanced listener by default and you’re always rushing folks forward and you’re always looking to next steps, that means you could interrupt. It means you could give unwanted advice.


It means you could take over projects when that person or that group doesn’t need you to be.


With all of these SAID listening styles, there are also cautions to be aware of. All of the SAID listening styles bring value to workplaces. In fact, all organizations need all types of listeners in the workplace. None is better than another.

The question you have to ask yourself is, “When can I use these great characteristics of my SAID listening style at the appropriate time?” Because if it’s just your default and you’re doing it all the time, you’re going to make mistakes.

16:15 Maegan Stephens

The third letter in our model is I, and that stands for Immerse. And immersed listener is someone who prioritizes content.


People who are immersed listeners often ask follow-up questions that aren’t about moving it forward, but is about making sure I understand fully the depth and the context of what has just been communicated to me. In terms of a goal, an immerse listening goal is when I want someone to understand and remember the information that I’m sharing with them.


Maybe as a speaker, I am studying context for which there is no action to take right now, but I want to make sure everyone is on the same page, or I’m giving you a lot of background of a situation because it’s going to inform an action later on I’m going to ask you to take.


When you are an immersed listener, you might be very primed to listen and know how to keep your focus in those situations. If you’re in another style, particularly in something like context setting where there is no immediate need for momentum or immediate ask for you to critique or judge, that can be hard for people because they’re used to in the workplace, “We always got to move it forward.”


I’ve even had executives say, “But if there’s nothing for me to do, do I really have to listen?” Oh, yes, you do. One, because it’s empathetic to the person on the other side of the interaction, and two, you never know what you could be missing if you chose to not immerse when that is what the speaker needed from you.


17:39 Nicole Lowenbraun

And the D in SAID stands for Discern. I am a discern listener. And discern listeners prioritize evaluation. It’s really interesting because when we first showed our executive leadership team that SAID listening styles, one of our executives said, “That’s really bad, Nicole. You shouldn’t be constantly judging or evaluating people’s information.” And I thought, “Well, that can’t be right in the workplace.”


Sometimes we need to remove judgment, but Maegan and I have literally made a living. People hire us, Fortune 100 companies pay us to evaluate the way they’re speaking, what they’re writing, what their content looks like. We get paid to do it.


And there is a time and a place for judgment and evaluation, but on the goal side, if someone is not looking for your judgment, not looking for evaluation, that can obviously get you into trouble.


I have found that when I am listening to something and I’m supposed to immerse in it, I’m not supposed to judge it, I’m not supposed to take action on it, it’s really challenging for me. I have to sit there and I have to say, “What does this person need from me right now?”


If the answer is not evaluation, I need to adapt to a different style. That can be really challenging. I want to confirm that Discern is a tough one. We’ve gotten pushback on that. There is absolutely a time in the corporate world where a valuation is necessary.


19:07 Oscar Trimboli

Ironically, every day is a valuation in commercial corporate settings, they have revenue goals, they have customers who are making judgements on them, they have employees or making judgments every day about whether they stay or they leave, whether they give discretionary effort to a project or not. It’s really critical that people understand that evaluation in commercial corporate settings is happening every day and they have systems and processes and meetings on a regular basis to evaluate this.


Communication is a simultaneous equation. You are listening and speaking within a very short period of time. We’re all switch around. And often as the speaker, we want the listener to adjust their approach. Nicole, how do you do that?

19:53 Nicole Lowenbraun

We get asked this a lot in our workshop. People say, “But how can I get other people to listen to me” and we say, “Well, let’s start with you. First of all, you can be a model for good listening. So even if you are asking others to be better listeners, if they’re not familiar with the methodology, and even if you are not, you can model good listening for others.”


We find that works really well. If that’s not the case and you’re still working on listening yourself, it’s okay to guide them.


What we’ve done a lot internally is because Maegan is an advanced listener, even if you don’t know that specifically, but you can sense this person likes forward momentum, they like action, they want results, and they want them to happen quickly, you can deduce that the next time you interact with that person, they’re probably going to listen in that same way.


That is their default.


That being said, I can show up in an interaction with Maegan and I can say, “Maegan, I know you probably are going to want to give me advice when I tell you this story or I give you this information.


What I really need from you right now is this.” You can guide them if what you know they’re used to saying or used to using as a processing tool is different from what you need in that moment.


You can also, however, seek out people who you need that specific type of listening from. This week, I went to our colleague who is a fantastic support listener because I was going through a little bit of a rough time, so I specifically approached that person because I knew she was going to give me what I needed in the moment.


There’s ways as a speaker that you can either seek out or guide the person listening to you to listen in the right way at the right time even if they don’t know a thing about adaptive listening.


21:38 Oscar Trimboli

Maegan, thinking about a conversation you’re going to have, there are times where it may be appropriate to be explicit and ask the other person what they want from you as a listener and sometimes not. How do we think through that as we approach a conversation?


21:56 Maegan Stephens

If you are really trying to be a present and empathetic listener for someone else, you can take the onus on, take the burden on yourself to try to figure out what do they want. With a little bit of analysis on your end, either right before the interaction or right when it begins, you stand a high likelihood of figuring out, “Do they need me to support or advance or immerse or discern?”


And it’s just a check-in that we had found when doing our early research others weren’t doing. So right there, your first option is do the check-in. Might you be able to land on the answer with a high degree of certainty? Great.


You’ve now created an environment for a fluid dynamic conversation because a lot of workplace communication is dynamic.


So much of the day-to-day is back and forth, whether it is in person or it’s virtual. There’s a type of listening that happens in those settings. So if you try to figure it out, you probably stand a good chance of getting there. But in those situations where you just don’t know, you just don’t know what someone wants from you, it can be appropriate to ask, but we’d say exercise caution in doing so.


And if they are not familiar with SAID or the language of adaptive listening, use a formula like this. Tell them you’ve given it the best shot that you think this is what they want and you want to know if that’s how they want to move forward.


I was in a six-hour strategy session with other leaders in my organization. My boss got up and gave some context about the situation and then told us the problem she wanted us to solve. And I genuinely couldn’t decide if she was ready for me to come up with decisions yet or if she wanted me to ask follow-up questions to clarify some of the context she said. And I wrestled with it for it’s only seconds, five seconds I wrestled with it.


And I finally said, “Diandra, I have a question. Are we ready to move on to possible solutions yet or would you rather me double check on some context that you said to make sure we’re all on the same page?” And she said, “I built 10 minutes in for contact checks. Let’s go. What can I answer for you?” And that made me go to my notes I took and look at some places where I thought these three questions or items she brought up could have been interpreted in a different way. I want to make sure I landed on the right interpretation.”


And so that not only benefited me, but the other leaders around that table because now we all had the same baseline before we got to the solutioning that needed to happen in that meeting. Now, Diandra knows adaptive listening. She knows the SAID model, so I could have said,


“Diandra, is it time for advance or can I discern a little? Might I immerse?”


But it didn’t cost me anything to put it in human conversation language to say, “I try, but I want to check. What do you say?” So that’s the strategy we recommend to people to ensure you’re on the same page. But we also say workplace communication moves fast. In any interaction, there are multiple goals that you probably need to meet as a listener. You’re not going to check every three seconds. That is going to slow us down. It’s going to get in the way of efficiency, so try your best, check when you don’t think you’ve got it right, and always be ready to apologize and try again next time because the next chance to practice adaptive listening is really just one more meeting away.


25:10 Oscar Trimboli

I love the story about providing executives with feedback. And despite the fact you may be listening to everything, you need to be choiceful about how you provide feedback. Do you chunk it down into small pieces and give them a little bit at a time?

Or occasionally, are they ready?

Are they emotionally prepared?

Do they have that maturity to get all the feedback all at once?


I felt I found a kindred soul in Maegan when we talked about the importance of apologizing for your listening, for your presence, for your ability to stay focused during a conversation, whether that apology happens in the meeting or after the meeting. A lot of people are often surprised how much I apologize for losing focus during a discussion as well. Losing focus during a discussion just makes you human rather than perfect.


The Duarte organization is famous for helping leaders craft powerful and impactful communications.


You may think of them as speaking experts. Yet what I took away from the discussion with Nicole and Maegan was how the format of communication changes the way it takes place.


They talked about written communication, the process of writing a book compared to how they communicate in face-to-face discussions which allow much more interactivity.


I’m curious if you are conscious of the impact of the written word, probably email or instant messaging for you, versus face-to-face or more interactive discussions, whether that’s physically face-to-face or virtually because the modality of the communication impacts the way you listen.


I’m curious, how conscious are you of the different methods and modality? And do you adapt your communication accordingly? How conscious are you in your workplace communications and choices about what you’re about to communicate? And is that better done in a written form? Is it best done verbally or something else?


Nicole makes a powerful point. She said there are many listening models out there that said is designed to be memorable. I wonder how memorable your communication is. Memorable isn’t whether the person you spoke to can remember it. Memorable communication is the ability for them to be able to communicate that with the same level of impact to somebody else. How memorable an idea is? How well it can be transmitted by the person who didn’t communicate it originally?


I’m fascinated. Which listening style do you think is your default? Is it Support, Advance, Immerse, or Discern? Which one do you need to become more fluent in? It’s great to know which one your default is. Which is the next one you’d pick to be better? Is it Discern? Is it Immerse? Is it Advance? Or is it Support?


Which one would you work on?


Here’s your opportunity to find out. If you’d like a chance to win one of five copies of the book, send me an email with the subject Adapt, and the answer to this question, how did this conversation change your mind about listening in the workplace? How did this conversation change your mind about listening in the workplace?


29:04 Thanks for listening This far. Today’s bonus is much more extensive than the past because we’ve got three participants rather than two. And we’ve added one or two more questions in here because it was relevant. So one of the questions we added at the back was, if we had our time all over again, how would we adapt or amplify? I invited Nicole and Maegan to self-reflect.


We did two process checks, one at the midpoint and one towards the end where we asked that question, what did you notice about Oscars listening?


I’m Oscar Trimboli and along with the Deep Listening Ambassador community, we’re on a quest to create 100 million deep listeners in the workplace.

And you’ve given us the greatest gift of all.

You’ve listened to us.

Thanks for listening.


30:19 Oscar Trimboli

If we did this conversation all over again, what’s one thing we’d amplify or one thing we’d adapt?


30:24 Nicole Lowenbraun

One of the things I think is really important to prove, we are out to make everybody an adaptive listener, meaning it doesn’t matter that I come from a discern listening style.


I need to be able to adapt to all of those styles. One thing that has been a common misconception is that because I’m a discern listener, people think that that means I want others to listen to discern.


For me, this is very different than some other psychometrics out there where, “Okay, if my style is this, then I want other people to do that for me too.” Like my love language, for example, is quality time.


And so if I want people to give me that love, they need to adapt to me. This is a little bit different, whereas just because I’m a discern listener, that doesn’t mean I want people to discern all the time.


Like I said earlier, sometimes I need support, sometimes I need advance, sometimes I need immerse.


And so that’s a clarification we really want to make out there, is that just because you have a style doesn’t mean that other people need to match to the goal. It’s quite different.


31:34 Maegan Stephens

We might want to amplify more of the stories and the examples for people.


It’s so rich with listening. Sometimes Nicole and I have a habit of making sure people understand the technique and then going, “Oh wait, yeah, here’s a story to help amplify that.”


And while this was developed in the workplace, one of the strongest places we both seen movement and fertile ground for practice is in our personal lives.


There is something at stake to practice a new model for listening at work. There’s a lot on the line to walk in tomorrow to a thing no one on your team’s ever heard of, no one’s ever done it and go full throttle with new techniques and new ways of approaching it.


Stakes are a little different at home with my husband, so he was my playground. For a lot of the techniques we’d go, he didn’t know he was my Guinea pig, but I’d go, “Tonight at dinner, I’m going to work really hard on my immersed listening,” which is hard for me as an advanced listener. I don’t default to immerse, but immerse listening is a lot about leaning into curiosity, holding space for the other person, recognizing there is no action for me to take, but the gift of my presence and giving someone else an opportunity to share a little bit about their day. And man, it made my marriage so much happier. I am so grateful that I was able to part techniques over from the workplace into my personal life.


32:59 Oscar Trimboli


Let’s take a pause. How are we going?

33:04 Maegan Stephens


I love the pause because it feels like a good listening lens focus.


And so for us, that lens is the thing that gets out of focus and messes it all up.


This is a good, “Okay, let me check. How am I doing as a listener? The environment, I’m feeling good about the sound and the lighting. I can hear everybody.”


The information. Oscar’s questions are good. They’re helping me be a little bit extemporaneous, but I think I know what I’m talking about.


And how do I feel about the speaker? Well, gosh darn it. I like Oscar. I appreciate the way he’s approaching this and structured it. My lens is focused and I like this little check-in moment we’re having.


33:38 Oscar Trimboli

And Nicole?


33:40 Nicole Lowenbraun

I feel great. Candidly, we didn’t know what to expect.


We are excited to talk about this, but also a little nervous.


We want to make sure that we’re getting our points right and making sure that everyone of your listeners understands what we’re saying. And so halfway through, I feel calm and controlled and excited.


34:00 Oscar Trimboli

Wonderful. What have you noticed about my listening?


34:05 Nicole Lowenbraun

I’m noticing a lot of feedback that is encouraging, a lot of smiling, a lot of head nodding. You are not doing or saying anything that’s distracting.


It seems like you’re very much an immersed listener.

You’re listening to understand. But I’m also getting some support from you, which is exactly what I need as a new podcast participant. So those smiles and nods are not only confirming that you understand what we’re saying, they’re encouraging us as humans and validating our emotions.


34:38 Oscar Trimboli

Again, with a process check, we’re coming up to the backend of the conversation. If there was one thing we would focus on for the balance of this time, what would that be?


34:48 Maegan Stephens

I’d love to ask this as a question to you, Oscar, to see if you think your listeners would connect with this.


A question we often get asked is, “Can I just ask the speaker what they need?”


And we have a perspective on when it’s appropriate to ask someone how they want you to listen and when it’s inappropriate for you to ask that question. Another question that we get often is, “Well, how do I get others to listen the way I want?” Which is funny because we’re trying to help you be better listeners, but we get that you want other people to be better listeners for you.


And we have a perspective on that too because it’s a question that came up so much, and we understand the desire to make sure everyone’s getting what they need.


35:24 Oscar Trimboli

And if you had to prioritize that question?


35:28 Maegan Stephens

I’d want to know how they can get others to listen the way they want, because we’re all a little selfish. It’s okay, it’s biological. We have to care about us.


35:37 Oscar Trimboli

How did you go?


35:43 Nicole Lowenbraun

This was fun.

It was a good combination of informing people and hopefully also entertaining them.


We want it to be informative. We want people to learn from it, but we also have moments of levity where it’s entertaining. And so that’s our goal when promoting it, is we want to also show that our personalities and style comes through in the book.

It’s not just the methodology.

So it’s fun to read because a lot of business books are not always fun to read. So hopefully that came across here.


36:11 Oscar Trimboli



36:11 Maegan Stephens

Yeah, I’m pretty happy with our responses, but I do know that Nicole and I do sometimes we go long and we tangent a little.


And as Nicole mentioned about your nonverbal feedback, Oscar, it’s helpful to watch the places where you light up and where you engage.


We do pay attention to that to say, “Ooh, Maegan, cut the story short. Nobody cares about any of those details.” So it was a wonderful opportunity to do this on camera with you and get to see you as opposed to it being audio only or us not getting some of that feedback.


And Nicole and I chatted about that before we joined, and I said, “Look at this strategy of us being on camera together. I love it. It’s going to make it feel more real.”


36:51 Oscar Trimboli

And what reflections would you have for me?


36:57 Nicole Lowenbraun

We have nothing to compare this to, Oscar, but I really appreciated all the information you gave us ahead of time not only on technology, but on, “Hey, here’s some other podcaster stories. And here’s the question I start with so you can prepare.” That was really helpful in feeling prepared. We know the methodology, but talking about it in a conversational way is really different than delivering a workshop where we’re lecturing and we’re in charge. We’re on the receiving end of this rather than guiding it, and that’s a very different position to be in. Thank you, because I think everything you gave us ahead of time allowed us to feel more comfortable before even meeting you. So I really appreciated that.


37:36 Oscar Trimboli

And Maegan?


37:38 Maegan Stephens

I was grateful for your stop and go of, “Let’s chat through how to frame this next question” and how you are even able to still make it sound conversational when you delivered it, knowing we weren’t in the stop and go moments because that’s a skill and that helps it just be more engaging for listeners that you do need to practice. It can’t all be impromptu. It has to be a little extemporaneous. We have to have an idea of what we’re talking about. We have to let people know we put the time in to make this useful and valuable. We weren’t just all riffing and see where it land.


38:14 Oscar Trimboli

Did you notice any change in my listening in the second half? Because I did notice a significant change in your speaking in the second half.


38:24 Nicole Lowenbraun

We might faster, didn’t we? We tend to do that when we get comfortable. I noticed your, again, body movement is easier to recognize on Zoom I think more than anything because we’ve got this tiny little square. And so we’re hyper-focused on your face, but I noticed deeper facial expressions, if I can… I guess that’s the term, right? Deeper, more expressive, more fierce head nodding. And so I think that was probably a little bit of us gaining energy and you reacting to that energy, but it seemed more engaging between us.

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