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Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Mark Goulston , Walter Dixon
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 8 2012
In JUST LISTEN, veteran psychiatrist and business coach Mark Goulston reveals the secret to how to get through to anyone, even when productive communication seems impossible, and presents remarkably effective tools and techniques you can use whenever a job, a sale, or a relationship hangs in the balance. Goulston has proven these strategies during his own 30-year career as a business coach at companies such as GE, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Kodak, Federal Express, Hyatt, and Disney. He has also trained FBI and police hostage negotiators to handle life-or-death situations.

With this powerful yet engaging audio book, you'll learn how to:

  • Get the attention of a total stranger who you need to know-like that potential client you absolutely must land.
  • Talk an angry person up from an instinctual (irrational) state to receptivity, and finally to rationality-a skill that can save a job, a marriage, or even a life.
  • Use the "Magic Paradox"-a technique the author developed for hostage negotiators- to turn a negative person into an asset.
  • Master the critical art of buy-in (the foreplay of negotiation, persuasion, and selling) by moving anyone through the "Persuasion Cycle.

Barricades between people become barriers to success, progress, and happiness; so getting through is not just a fine art, but a crucial skill. JUST LISTEN gives you the techniques and confidence to approach the unreachable people in your life, and turn frustrating situations into productive outcomes and rewarding relationships.

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"It's a measure of how contentious work relationships can get that the author, a psychiatrist, draws on hostage-negotiation techniques to instruct readers on how to deal with 'defiant executives, angry employees or self-destructing management teams'.... Mission accomplished." --"Time Magazine" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Mark Goulston, M.D. is a psychiatrist, consultant, business coach, and is the author of Get Out of Your Own Way and Get Out of Your Own Way at Work. He writes a leadership column for Fast Company and the "Solve Anything with Dr. Mark" career advice column for Tribune Media Services. Named one of America's Top Psychiatrists by the Consumers' Research Council of America (2009, 2005, 2004), he is frequently quoted or featured in The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Newsweek and others, and on CNN, NPR, Fox News, and BBC-TV. He lives in Los Angeles.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Depths Nov. 30 2009
I come to this book as a lawyer who has spent many years dealing with people under intense pressure. I advise families with disabled relatives, often young men with schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder, and mediate intra-family disputes over estates or the care of elderly people. I have read numerous books that purport to offer advice on dealing systematically with "difficult" people or situations. This extremely helpful book is the only one that genuinely and fully delivers on its promise. I recommend it highly to anyone who needs to elicit human co-operation from people - parents, children, spouses, colleagues, clients - who are inclined to withhold it.
The book is clearly written, well edited and thoughtfully formatted. Like most management or business advice books it is structured around real life vignettes. These are all believable, well chosen and avoid the wooden lifelessness that mars most books of this genre. The book is a smooth and pleasant read, but this smoothness in a way masks, probably deliberately, its strengths and those of its author.
Dr. Goulston's prescription is straightforward, and it works. There is no doubt in my mind that this book emerges from considerable practical experience, combined with ongoing study. He understands human needs, and his main lesson is that we must all strive to grasp our own and satisfy those of others. In his foreword he notes that he had to cut away a long chapter on the brain. This was a sound editorial decision, but one hopes that such a chapter will see the light in another, different book. There are numerous moments in the book - for example a seemingly offhand comment on workplace violence and disturbed object relations - that demonstrate the hidden depths of Dr. Goulston's knowledge.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
"Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion." -- Romans 12:16

I was attracted to this book because I knew that Dr. Goulston would have something new to offer about listening. Most books on the subject simply rehash the same points. Just Listen fills the empty advice space between books on negotiating such as Getting to Yes and the NLP books that focus on the power of words and physical mirroring. Although most readers won't want to know very much about the latest in brain science, Dr. Goulston provides that a tad that provides more perspective about helping people regain control over their emotions.

For me, the book's strength was in its many examples of using the principles that are described. I was so impressed that I immediately rethought a family situation and hit on a solution that has already proven to be unexpectedly productive.

Dr. Goulston provides nine core rules that get you from being out of control to in charge of difficult situations, even ones you want to exit. From there, he provides 12 methods for gaining someone else's attention and agreement. I was struck that I had used most of the methods at one time or another, but I didn't have them categorized into when they would be most useful. I could also see ways to combine the methods that I had never considered before.

I was also amused to read some examples that involved people I know, which made Dr. Goulston's activities even more interesting as I compared what I did to what he did. Very helpful!

If you simply read a list of what he proposes, it wouldn't impress you. You need to read the book and put yourself into the stories he describes. Then, you'll get it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm about half-way through this book and finding it really fascinating. It gets a well-deserved five stars.

I apologise in advance for griping, but what is with the high Kindle version price? It's comparable to the hard-cover price! Come on.

Kindle book prices are a greedy grab by Amazon. Kindle books do not need to printed, bound, shipped, and distributed. So please don't try to convince me that charging a price similar to a print version is something other than highway robbery. I'm disappointed in Amazon.

Minus five stars for Amazon's Kindle pricing policy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's what it promises to be June 25 2014
By Reg
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book. It's a really good, down to earth look at human communication. It offers a lot of pratical tips. If you want what the book claims to offer you won't be disappointed.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  341 reviews
166 of 170 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Your Consultative Sales Playbook Dec 16 2009
By Jennifer E. Sertl - Published on Amazon.com
Everywhere I turn I am being advised to leverage social media. There is even the new concept of " 33 million people in the room." With so many channels and methods to communicate to higher levels of influence and greater numbers in an audience, it is refreshing to know that the playing field is still relatively flat. Just because you have access to people, doesn't mean you are making IMPACT. Mark Goulston's, "Just Listen" is filled with realistic scenarios, assessment tests, and a real candid mirror.
If you aren't getting the results you want in your personal or professional life, there is probably a reason within your control--you probably aren't an effective communicator.
In pure Gouldston style--you are hit right between the eyes. In Section II Goulston shares his "nine core rules:"
1. Move yourself from "oh F#@& to OK"
2. Rewire yourself to listen
3. Make the other person feel "felt"
4. Be more interested than interesting
5. Make people feel valuable
6. Help people to exhale emotionally and mentally
7. Check your dissonance at the door
8. When all seems lost bare your neck
9. Steer clear of toxic people
You might read over this list and "yeah, yeah, yeah I do those things already." Do you? Do you really? What makes "Just Listen" so powerful is that Goulston shares several examples where he was out of alignment with these nine core rules. His transparency forces the reader to be more reflective and take personal responsibility.
Creating dissonance is the barrier I most need to resolve. I could see myself in several of the practical scenarios outlined. Having raised awareness I was sure this week would be different. The hardest part about being human is . . . well, being human. We think we are smart, using our prefrontal cortex--where long term decision making, cause-effect thinking take place-and then we make a choice just a little wiser than a reptile. Bottom line is--just because we are aware of something that needs to change; that awareness doesn't guarantee change. Being effective truly requires introspection, practice and patience. "Just Listen" is not a quick read. It is a workbook, a playbook, and flight plan. For the wisdom here to truly support sustainable progress, you might be keeping it as accessible as your blackberry.
Sales managers, marriage counselors, teachers, and spouses "Just Listen" is the greatest gift you could give yourself to enhance your own awareness and ability to reach those who are most important to you. Just read!
153 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Listen to this! Sept. 7 2009
By Peter B. Patch - Published on Amazon.com
Just Listen:

It's Labor Day, and I can't stop reading my new favorite book!

The book is `Just Listen,' by Mark Goulston.

As I read it, I find that each of his messages `hit's home' in three ways at once: it is simple to understand, easy to remember, and directly actionable. I find myself wanting to have my next big client interview right away - so I can try out these `easy to remember - easy to apply' techniques of communication.

What do I remember from the book? A series of `burning insights':

First, that my `reptile brain' (or amygdala) kicks in when I am `reactive' or `ballistic' (as I am on occasion), but if I can put a label on my feeling at that point - `I am upset' or `I am angry,' I can begin to get control over my response.

Mark carries this forward to the point where I can begin to have a `rational' conversation with myself, using my `human brain' - and, for example, with my wife(!) - but I'll leave that to him as he describes it in the book.

Key note: The point here is to `Listen to myself' and my own internal reactions. As Mark puts it, `if you want to open the lines of communication, open your own mind first.'

A second `burning insight': Make the other person `feel felt.' This one requires a kind of emotional intelligence - the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes. When you learn to do it, you will find the `barriers' to communication begin to come down, and the window (or door) to building a new possibility of relationship begin to open.

A third `burning insight': How to increase the `PEP' in your business - or your family. `PEP' stands for passion, enthusiasm, and pride. I'll give you a hint - only try this one if you've got a thick skin.

A fourth `burning insight': `How to make the impossible possible.'

I know - this one sounds like a `stretch.' It is - but that is exactly the point: It stretches our minds. This one looks at what could make something seemingly impossible into something that - while challenging - could suddenly begin to seem possible.

Once again, by changing the mental frame from which we look at a situation, new possibilities begin to emerge. That, of course, is a central message of the whole book.

But by capturing those situations in which I (we) find ourselves - or our responses - or our conversations - or our relationships (seemingly) blocked, or unworkable - Mark keeps showing ways to `untie' the Gordian knot, and make forward progress.

If you find any Gordian knots in yourself, or your communications, or your relationships - I heartily recommend this book.

It just may be the simplest, easiest - and most powerful - book I ever read.

So - try it yourself. On yourself. On your relationships. I think you'll find new possibilities, and newly achievable outcomes showing up in your life. Actually, I would bet on it.

Peter Patch (Stanford MBA, Harvard Doctoral Program in Business & Economics)
93 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, Practical, Useful and a Great Read Aug. 27 2009
By Peter Winick - Published on Amazon.com
This book is a must read for anyone that would like to decrease the frustration levels in their life and become more effective by focusing on the "other side" of communicating, listening. Written in a style that is easy to read, engaging and entertaining Dr Goulston doesn't bog you down with the typical shrink babble; instead throughout the book there are stories and examples that everyone can relate to. More importantly the tips and solutions on how to easily implement a solution are logical, practical and more importantly doable-- and they work!
78 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Usable Insight, Indeed Sept. 7 2009
By Tami Conner - Published on Amazon.com
OK, I'll admit it. I am a Dr. Goulston fan - I read his blog "Usable Insight" regularly. Which is why I hopped on the chance to preview a copy of his latest book, "Just Listen" ... And wow! am I glad I did.

This book exceeded my expectations. "Just Listen" is engaging, enthralling, and practical. Dr. Goulston lays out a system for improving your communication style that you can live with - no "fancy-smancy-gotta-change-your-sacred-self-or-else" stuff here. Instead, Dr. Goulston provides practical, usable insight that is applicable for in both your professional and personal lives.

Who hasn't needed to give themselves a "jeckectomy" every once in a while, or move themselves mentally and emotionally from "Oh F#@& to OK"? Even before I finished reading (and re-reading) "Just Listen", I was already trying out some of the techniques from "The Nine Core Rules for Getting Through to Anyone." The "Power Thank You?" I gave my mom one, and she cried. That one simple, powerful "thank you Mom" was a breakthrough in our relationship.

And if you're looking for real-life, day-to-day business scenarios in which to apply the techniques, look no further than the section titled, "Putting It All Together: Fast Fixes for Seven Challenging Situations." These scenarios would make team-building case studies and exercises!

No matter what you pay for this book, the insights inside are PRICELESS!
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart Lemming Review: A must-read for workers, managers, and leaders Sept. 29 2009
By Lori Grant - Published on Amazon.com
The Good: Learning how to use nine basic rules to get through to anyone, twelve ways to achieve buy-in, and seven ways to put it all together for success in work and life.

The Bad: Nothing, except the consequences of not reading this book.

Action Item: Worker, managers, and leaders should buy this book to understand the fundamentals of communications in numerous scenarios, ranging from dealing with difficult people in personal and work relationships to climbing the career ladder. Key takeaways include: (1) understanding the persuasion cycle; (2) how the brain really works; (3) the rules for getting through to anyone; and (4) how to achieve buy-in from resistors.
Persuasion is a Cycle

Most of us will never be a FBI hostage negotiator, although there will be times when we feel like a hostage negotiator in our communications with our friends or family. Goulston's book Just Listen teaches you the fundamentals of communication, focusing on his Persuasion Cycle.

At work or in our personal lives, we're trying to get buy-in from others. Goulston recommends that we work through five stages to persuade others to our point of view.

The goal of this cycle is to move from resistance to continuation to do what we'd like them to do:

1. From resisting to listening
2. From listening to considering
3. From considering to willing to do
4. From willing to do to doing
5. From doing to glad they did and continuing to do

By explaining the Persuasion Cycle, the reader immediate starts comparing or contrasting on what he or she does compared to Goulston's model. For example, I immediately started thinking, "I see why I sometimes fail at persuading others. I speed from Step 2 to Step 4, completely bypassing Step 3.'"

We have Three Brains?: After learning how to improve my persuasion skills, I learned that I have three brains. I didn't know I had three brains. Did you? I knew there were moments that I felt a little too "primal" when I had a strong, negative reaction to something or felt "evolved" when I tapped into my inner Spock analytical thinking. I didn't know that over millions of years, the human brain evolve to having a primitive reptile layer, a more evolved mammal layer, and a final primate layer. This was shocking to me. Not because of reading the word "reptile" in the same sentence with human brain, which granted, felt weird, but because it all made sense to me:

* The lower reptilian brain is the "fight-or-flight" part of your brain. This region of your brain is all about acting and reacting, without a lot of thinking going on. It can also leave you frozen in a perceived crisis-the "deer-in-the-headlights" response.
* The middle mammal brain is the seat of your emotions. (Call it your inner drama queen.) It's where powerful feelings-love, joy, sadness, anger, grief, jealousy, pleasure-arise.
* The upper or primate brain is like Star Trek's Mr. Spock: It's the part that weighs a situation logically and rationally and generates a conscious plan of action. This brain collects data from the reptile and mammal brains, sifts it, analyzes it, and makes practical, smart, and ethical decisions.

Finally, an explanation that summed up my human experience into one concept.

My Tricky Amygdala!: Goulston continues on this path by teaching us how the amygdala in our brain hijacks rational thought by flying into action if it senses a threat to us. I knew something had to be hijacking my thinking. I didn't know how to control it until reading this book. It turns out, if we intervene before our "amygdala hits the boiling point, our higher brain can stay in control." Clever, a key to success: short-circuit the amygdala to stay in control. Excellent. I can see how this tactic can be used for everything, ranging from managing bullies at work or dealing with a cranky flight attendant.

Now I also know how to let my amygdala trigger proper responses. The "flight" part of "flight or fight" is a good thing since it keeps me from being a C.S.I. victim. With practice, I can control my amygdala to keep me rational like Gil Grissom at work.

The Nine Core Rules for Getting Through to Anyone: If I had stopped on page 17 of Just Listen, I would have been content and felt prepared for all business and personal scenarios. Goulston didn't stop there; it's just the beginning. He keeps adding value by sharing his nine rules for getting through to even the most challenging people in our lives:

1. Move Yourself from "Oh F#@& to OK" in a five step process
2. Rewire Yourself to Listen
3. Make the Other Person Feel "Felt"
4. Be More Interested Than Interesting
5. Make People Feel Valuable
6. Help People to Exhale Emotionally and Mentally
7. Check Your Dissonance at the Door
8. When All Seems Lost-Bare Your Neck
9. Steer Clear of Toxic People

As Goulston explains each rule, he also provides the reader with "Usable Insights" and "Action Steps" at the end of each chapter, providing you learning tools to practice each rule. My favorite rules? I have two:

* Rule number 3 - Make the Other Person Feel "Felt": inside every person-no matter how important or famous-is a real person who needs to "feel felt." If we satisfy that need, and we'll transform ourselves from a face in the crowd to a friend or an ally.
* Rule number 6 - Help People to Exhale Emotionally and Mentally: help people to exhale emotionally and mentally by getting them to exhale by not interrupting the person or getting defensive. Let the person vent and exhale. At that point, positive emotions will fill the hole left behind by the negative ones.

After learning Goulston's nine rules, I also know how to deal with toxic people in a more effective manner. Watch out bullies, needy people, takers, narcissists, and psychopaths, I'm onto to you. I now have Goulston strategies and tactics ready to launch whenever I have to communicate or not communicate with you.

The Twelve Ways to Achieve Buy-In: As if his nine rules weren't enough, Goulston also gives his readers powerful tools for moving people through the Persuasion Cycle. These tools can "change the course of a business project, a sale, a relationship, or even a life." Below are the benefits of his twelve ways to achieve buy-in:

1. Move a person from listening to considering-and from "Yes . . . but" to "Yes!"
2. Shift another person from resistance to listening-from "nobody understands" to "you understand."
3. Transition a person from resisting to "willing to do" in a single step, by changing the dynamics of a relationship.
4. Move a resistant underachiever all the way to the "willing to do" stage by creating empathy.
5. Move a person who's "over the top" from resistance to listening by lowering the person's anger or fear.
6. Calm a person who's upset or angry, moving the person from resisting to listening and then from listening to considering.
7. Move a person from considering to "willing to do" by neutralizing your weak points.
8. Move a person from considering to "willing to do" by transforming a relationship from impersonal to personal.
9. Lower another person's guard and move the person from resistance to listening.
10. Move a person to the "willing to do" stage by making the person feel felt and understood.
11. Move a person rapidly through every phase of the Persuasion Cycle from resistance to "doing," by creating agreement where none exists.
12. Move a person from "doing" to "glad they did" and "continuing to do" by using the Power Thank You, or from resistance to listening with the Power Apology.

Add these twelve tools to your communication arsenal and you'll get through to people you never thought you could reach.

Fast Fixes for Seven Challenging Situations: Goulston keeps on giving by providing you with seven applications for common, but hard-to-handle situations, using a mix of the skills you've learned in previous chapters.

1. The Team from Hell
2. Climbing the Ladder
3. The Narcissist at the Table
4. You're a Stranger in Town
5. "Disgruntled Employee goes Berserk" Scenario
6. Getting Through to Yourself
7. Six Degrees of Separation in Networking

After learning about 1 persuasion cycle, 3 brains, 9 rules, and 12 tools, and 7 applications, I'm ready to start persuading people (for good, not evil, of course).

Conclusion: Mark Goulston's book Just Listen is a must-read for anyone who must interact with people, even anti-social hermits should read the book, so they can learn how to persuade others to stop bothering them. This book is a natural fit for managers and leaders, but it's also invaluable for those working up the corporate ladder. More importantly, it's a must-read to learn why you have three brains and why your body knows how to avoid being a C.S.I. victim.
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