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Book Summary: Just Listen by Mark Goulston by Mind Map: Book Summary:  Just Listen by
Mark Goulston
4.7 stars - 4 reviews range from 0 to 5

Book Summary: Just Listen by Mark Goulston

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Work Situations

Gain Trust (when they don't feel trusting)

Example: Lawyer mom is single mom. The firm works her to death. Her boss says, "I bet you you always feel like you are letting someone down - either you child or your workplace. Must be really hard to do both". This allows her to feel that someone understands and makes her look at the boss differently. Maybe he DOES understand and is not one of the "bad guys".

(see "Magical Paradox")

Toxic environment

I want you to know I'm not part of the problem, (see "Magical Paradox")

I need to create a good first impression

After establishing a basic connection with the person, From transaction to transformation, Description, Ask a jolting question, Question makes person reflect on what you've asked, That leads other to want to extend the conversation, A question that transforms your relationship, Moves relationship, From impersonal - to more personal, Move from " considering" to "willing to do", Examples, College grad in an interview, Admin Assistant first day at work, Applying this technique, Ignoring this technique, Pharmaceutical Sales Person, Why it works, Satisfy Mirror Neuron Deficit

Avoid coming off as "trying to convince them", Fill in the blanks, Description, Ask a question where they fill in the blanks, Figuratively: Move a person towards you, (as opposed to figuratively pushing yourself on them, Avoids potential "dissonance", If assumptions were incorrect, you'll find out, Why it works, Invites people into the conversation, Your not really asking questions which could put them on the definsive, It avoids you from appearing "demanding", Draws a person towards you. You are "concerned" but not pushy, Direct questions = talk at them, Fill-in-blank = talk with them


Client or customer "meltdown" and/or being verbally attacked, The power of "Hmm...", Description, Use words/sounds & body language, hmm..., Can you tell me more, Huh, Really (said with a "wow, I'm surprised" attitude), What else happened, What else can you tell me, A tool for calming them down - get to real problem, This is not a tool to RESOLVE the problem, Don't get defensive, go deeper, Why it works, Angry people feel mistreated, You communicate to them, I care how you are feeling, You matter to me, I'm listening, It deescalates the situation, It catches people "off guard" - they expect different behavior from you

11) Take it all the way to "no", Description, Know how far you can take it - by reaching No, Ask them (if they say no): Did I take it too far or not address your needs?, Why it works, Throws person off balance, Gets them from No thinking to Yes thinking

Multiple people not communicating

infantile "He said, She said" debates, (See Empathy Jolt)

He talks about everyone else's faults - doesn't look in the mirror to see their contributions, (See Empathy Jolt)

Book Summary & Brain Science

Twitter Version

How to hear, listen, and influence/persuade. How to "Get through" and diffuse volatile human communication situations.

Tumblr Version

From Publishers Weekly: Goulston (Get Out of Your Own Way at Work) returns with a primer on dealing with hard-to-reach people in virtually every scenario—defiant executives, angry employees, families in turmoil, warring couples—through use of well-honed psychological techniques. Negotiating intractable situations is like driving up a steep hill, he posits, but most of us make the mistake of creating more resistance by shifting up; downshift, and you get control, he writes. His Persuasion Cycle filters illustrative snippets from counseling sessions during which he digs into an impressive bag of tricks—Magic Paradox, Impossibility Question, Empathy Jolt—techniques like martial arts moves: potent on their own, but even more powerful when you combine them. His successful persuasion case studies include negotiating a police standoff and assisting a married couple's conflict resolution. Chapter summaries feature action steps preparing readers to encounter similar scenarios, yielding a guide that is as entertaining as it is useful.

When Book tips won't work

Sociopaths/psychopaths, Probably have no mirror neurons, lack conscience and empathy, about 3.6 % of population, Not sure if this figure includes Narcissists, 4 times more common in men

Narcissists, Probably have no mirror neurons

Category of techniques Used

Replenish mirror neuron deficits

Jolt person via unexpected behavior/communication techniques

Approaching communication from a different angle, opening up a previously closed or tightened channel


The BS factor, This won't work if you are not sincere, How you approach people / body language is key

To be effective, you need a certain amount of "Emotional Intelligence"

For this book "to work": Practice!!, Like anything worthy in life, it's a "muscle that needs constant exercising"

The Persuasion Cycle

Brain Science

3 parts, Upper (Neo-cortex), Middle (Limbic System), comprised of, Hippocampus, anterior thalmic nuclei, limbic cortex, controls, emotion, long term memory, olfaction, Amygdala, Lower (Reptilian)

Mirror Neurons, Examples, Guy gets kicked in the nuts, As a male observer, you feel pain, Movie hero "gets the girl", You feel good, What happens when we see people, Angry, laughing, yawning, sick, scared, Watch "home team" (your tribe) win a game, Your sense of worth rises (we won), Creates empathy, Goulston's theory, We mirror the world >conform to its needs, We hunger love and approval, Mirror-neuron receptor deficit, occurs when others do not mirror-back, Examples, I work hard, but don't feel appreciated, I have a strong conviction - nobody seems to "get it"

Common Communication Problems

Person is in rage/crisis, Characteristics, It's like dealing with a cornered snake, Analogy, Sauce-pan of water - room temp, Person behaves normally, Sauce-pan water simmers, Brain still has access to "reasoning", Sauce-pan water boils over, Emergency switch is thrown, Lower or middle brain shuts-out higher brain, "The snake is flying the plane", DO, Help get them from lower, to middle, to upper brain, Get to them before "water boils over", DON'T

Person is annoying, Problem, Mirror Neuron Deficit

Problem: Relating to others

They're in Crisis

They are on overload, Magic Paradox, Description (by example), Suicide-Desire Story, Why it works, Replenish Mirror Neuron Deficit, Move from resistant to listening

They need "to chill", Help people to exhale emotionally and mentally, Description, When someone is venting/whining - avoid interrupting, Don't be definsive, Take a break - then say "tell me more", Let them know you didn't realize how bad it was, Why it works, Opens communication further, You can move beyond "getting back to normal" and even IMPROVE the situation, You bridge a gap between the two of you.

They don't feel understood, Make other person feel "Felt", Description, Put yourself in other person's shoes, Sometimes the most confident person is most afraid of making a mistake, A 6-step example, What emotion do you think they feel, frustrated?, angry?, afraid?, Say "I think you are feeling ____ am I correct?, How _____ are you?, give person time to respond, be prepared for torrent of emotions, Say "And the reason you feel ___ is because...... ?, Allow them to fill in the blank for why they feel this way, Say "What needs to happen to make you feel better?, Say "What part can I play to make it better?", Why it works, Replenish mirror neuron deficiancy

They're annoying

"The sky is falling, the sky is falling", "You really believe that!?!", How it works, Person shares hyperbole / exaggeration, You reply with calmness: Do you really believe that?, Why it works, Opens communication, Moves away from "tit for tat", Moves away from talking "over" each other, New node

They are miserable & blame everyone else, Empathy Jolt, Description (by example), My son doesn't listen, my husband doesn't help, Ask mom why son behaves as he does, Ask mom why husband acts the way he does, Ask Husband why mom acts the way she does, Ask son what motivates mom to act like she does, Gets everyone into empathy mode, Why it works, Takes person from Anger to Empathy, Anger is a "motor action", Empathy is a sensory experience, Anger & Empathy is like Matter and Antimatter, The two emotions can't exist at same time

It feels like "lecture time" - instead, I'll foster better behavior, Side by side, Description, Instead of giving someone a "lecture" work side by side (see examples), This should not be a "bait and switch", The technique does not focus "spilt milk". Used to explore how to "do right" in the future., Why it works, Creates communication when none exists, Examples, Uncommunicative teen, 3 things not to do, Don't violate their trust after you get their guard down, Don't "troll" for negative information, People would feel spied on or trap them, Don't argue with them.

They are constantly complaining / obstructing, Make people feel valuable, Description, Make a person feel important - it's a gift beyond price, complaints / obstructions: probably mirror neuron deficit, Really good examples in the book - chapter 7, page 66, Why it works, People will go the extra mile for you

Always interuptting and bothering you re: little things, Reverse Play (Empathy Jolt #2), How it works, Schedule a meeting, Find 3 things they may be frustrated by (with you), Example, You think I give you least interesting projects, You think you've inherited a lot of problems, You think I don't listen to your ideas, Say: I was thinking about why YOU might be disappointed in ME, End with: Is that true?, <then they talk>, New node, Tell them you'll try harder, Why it works, Do the unexpected > mental shift, Person expects to be criticized, Instead they are asked to be patient/forgiven, Moves them from Defensive to mirroring your humility and concern, Personal note: I suspect it fails if you don't follow through with original concerns, Great Quote

They could use some motivation

I Can't - It's too hard, Impossibility Question, Description (by example), What's impossible, but a success maker?, THEY Respond, Okay, what would make it possible?, Tips, If first answer is snide, Wait, let person ponder, Why it works, Mental shift to possibilities, From "Yes but..." to being in agreement with you., Move from resisting or thinking to "considering" stage, Analogy, Martial arts: take opponent energy against them

You probably don't know how special you are, Power Thank You, Description, Goes beyond a mere "thanks", It's sincere, Specific, They know why what they did (or didn't do) was so special

Problem: Improving myself

I'm in Crisis Mode

Move from "Oh Fuck" to "OK" (quickly!), Description, Move from crisis mode to solution mode quickly, 5 Stages of Crisis & it's resolution, 1) "Oh Fuck" (The Reaction Phase), Examples, This is a disaster, I'm screwed, It's all over, Try this, Do NOT deny your feelings, Acknowledge them, If possible - keep eyes closed for a few minutes, 2) "Oh God" (The Release Phase), Example, This is a huge mess, Why does this always happen to me, OMG, Try this, Breathe deeply & slowly through nose, goal is to try to relax as much as possible, 3) "Oh Jeez" (The Recenter Phase), Example, I can fix this, but it's not going to be fun, Try this, Continue breathing - take from Defcon 1 to 2, 3, 4, 5, Try saying the names of the phases, Oh Fuck, Oh God, etc., 4) "Oh Well" (The Refocus Phase), Example, Here is what I need to do to make it better, I'm not going to let this ruin my life/career/day/relationship, Try this, Think damage control, What's my action plan, 5) "OK" (The Reengage Phase), Example, I'm ready to fix this!, Try this, Open your eyes and do what you have to do, When in Crisis, become aware of the stages, this allows you to take control, enables moving through stages quickly, Put "words" to your feelings", Silently or outloud, Don't lie to yourself - saying "I'm OK, It's fine", Example, I'm feeling angry, I'm afraid, Get yourself under control first, The first rule for stressful encounters, Analogous to putting airplane oxygen mask on first - then a childs, "Poise under stress" is key, The mind treats all different crisis-types the same, fender bender, losing a big sale, argument with lover, Note: small crisis - may start in phase 2 or 3, Why it works, Allow higher brain to take over from reptile brain, By naming your emotions., UCLA study (Matthew Lieberman), "cools down" the brain, Note: Don't lie to yourself, Don't say "I'm fine, I'm Cool", Creates dissonance, (This is counter intuitive), Replaces your convictions with reality

I make same mistakes over and over!?!

<variation> Fill in your own blanks, Description, Stop repeating stupid things, Write answers to these question (see note), Get a buddy to help keep you accountable, Why it works, Not wallowing in self-blame, No blaming others

Question you can ask yourself, What would I like to be doing with my life next year, What do I need more or less of in my life right now, What do I want people to say about me after I die

I'm not seeing the real "cause" of the problem

Rewire yourself to LISTEN, Description, Opening lines of communication: first open your mind, Allows you to go beyond knee jerk reactions, How we misread underlying reasonings for behavior, Misunderstandings occurs with intimate partners, Find the "real" cause of others behavior, How our mind "boxes" people, Instantaneous "boxes", Gender, Generation (age), Nationality/ethnicity, Shortly after meeting, Education level, Emotion, Why it works this way, Keeps us away from harm, Quickly assess dangerous situations, Many times it's accurate - but not always!, Think about what you're thinking, consciously analyze the ideas you've formed, weigh perceptions against reality - rewire brain to be more accurate about perceptions, Why it works, Allows moving beyond misreading the situation, Get to the "real" core issue and your "half-way there"

I'm Nervous/Humiliated/ with Elephant in the room

When all seems lost - bare your neck, Description, I'll show you mine (often results in) they show you theirs, It works even with people you don't like, Why it works, When you try to cover-up because you're scared/humiliated, Your own mirror neuron receptor deficit widens, You can't be understood, Person your dealing with can't mirror your distress or understand, Person, instead, will mirror your "attitude" your using to mask the problem, If you project "screw you", they'll mirror "screw you back", When baring the neck, ie. I'm afraid, I'm lonely, I don't know how to do this", Other person can mirror your true feelings, It's biology, Person will possibly feel your pain, Leads to desire to help, Can create instant bond with strangers

Stipulation Gambit, Description, Discuss the "elephant in the room" early, Be confident and self-assured, Make it brief like a good "elevator pitch", Why it works, You gain respect, Not talking about it makes it worse, If he is hiding this, what else might he be hiding, You come across untrustworthy, Their mirror neurons can't create a connection, New node, Examples, A man who stutters - tries to find a job

General behavior improvement

Choose friends wisely, Steer clear of toxic people, Types, Narcissists, AKA - "Mental Masturbators" (LOL), The book has a test for this trait, Bullies, They come after you - 'cause they think you're easy prey, Refuse to "play along with their script", Make eye contact, Act polite but slightly bored, See book for good description, "Takers", Always hit you up for a favor, "Big-time" needy People, Use emotional blackmail, The book has a test to determine how "needy" they are, I need YOU to solve MY problems, My happiness depends on you, If you leave me, I'll die, They require constant attention, Psychopaths, Lack of mirror neurons, RUN away from these people!!, Why, (should be obvious)

They see me differently than I see myself, Check your dissonance at the door, Description, Dissonance: You think you're coming across one way, but people see you differently, You think: Confident They think: Arrogant, You think: Strong They think: Rigid, You think: Detail oriented They think: Nitpicking, (lots more examples in the book), To resolve dissonance you create in others, change their perception of you, What to do, Use lists from book - ask 3 people who know you to identify traits you have, You'll uncover your dissonance, Instead of "Feedback", use "Feedforward", Ask people what future behavior would alter the behavior for the better, If you can't avoid it, anticipate it, Admit upfront that you may "mess up", (expose your neck)

I'm not spending enough time being present for others, Be more interested than interesting, Description, Instead of trying to be an interesting person - be interested in others, Don't Fake it - BE interested, Why it works, The more interested you are in them, the more you reduce their mirror neuron deficit

I Fucked up

Power Apology, Description, Something you can only do once, Has four components, Remorse, allow other person to vent, don't become defensive, Restitution, Rehabilitation, Request of Forgivness, Don't do this immediateely, Actions speak louder than words, Why it works, People respect humility, People respect efforts to prove yourself, If forgiveness is never achieved, Person may be unforgiving, If so, don't create a grudge