Leaders are often faced with resolving conflict and driving difficult conversations. In order to handle these tasks in the proper manner you must have a certain set of skills. It is important to be able to communicate efficiently and effectively. Communications Skills Specialist, Joel Silverstone, discusses how listening plays a big role in communication + how to become a great communicator & influencer by practicing his M.O.V.E. Framework.

  • 3:22 – The secret to communicating effectively
  • 6:12 – Genuine reaction = listening
  • 10:54 – Why clarification is important when listening
  • 12:52 – The M.O.V.E. Framework
  • 17:37 – How breathing helps relieve stress
  • 27:31 – How to make people feel understood and validated
  • 33:28 – Why communication styles affect listening skills
  • 35:56 – Listen without solving a problem
  • 40:26 – Being aware of your habits

Website:

http://joelsilverstone.com

Mentioned Book:

Full Episode Transcription :
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Todd: (02:05)
So Joel, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for taking the time to come and connect with me today. 

Joel: (02:11)
Listen, Todd, I think this is going to be fantastic. I look forward to, uh, to our conversation. 

Todd: (02:16)
Awesome. Awesome. So, before we started rolling the cameras here, we had some, some good discussions. I definitely want to get into today some of your past experiences on running Spartan race and uh, some of the other things that, uh, you’ve done that have led you up to this point. But for anyone who is just tuned in, listening or watching, can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up focusing on what you do today and what that is that you provide for clients and for the world? 

Joel: (02:47)
Yeah, absolutely. Well, uh, first of all, start with, you know, the end, which is that basically I lead sessions on communication skills, believing that people can move their conversations forward, that we get stuck in this cycle and it goes round and round. But how do we actually break that cycle and move forward? Uh, and it all started because in my former life I was a professional actor. Uh, in fact, I think it’s 23 years now that I celebrate my six and a half minute claim to fame on the X files. 

Todd: (03:15)
No way. That’s great. So that’s why you recognize my green screen set up right away, your Hollywood background.

Joel: (03:22)
Hollywood background. Um, but you know, like all actors, I struggled to pay the rent. So I started teaching acting and realized that business people started coming to these classes. Um, they wanted to be better, at thinking fast on their feet. They wanted to be better at making first impressions. They want to be better at listening, which is what people don’t realize actors are really good at. And so then, you know, fast forward 20 years later, that’s where I’m at as a facilitator, as a coach, as a speaker, uh, going around globally to different organizations, uh, and working with people on helping them be better at communicating. Because everyone’s given a a template. This is how I have to sell. This is how I have to coach. But it’s how do you do it? And there isn’t a template for that because it’s on an individual basis. You know, if you’re more of an analytical type person, you’re going to be more deliberate in how you speak. If you’re an expressive, you’re always going to tell a story when you’re communicating. So it’s finding that balance that, that right in the middle of that sweet spot for most people on how to sell better, how to communicate better and as a leader or as a salesperson or customer service or even in difficult conversations. 

Todd: (04:32)
Yeah. I, there’s, there’s so many little gems that I picked up on, on just that first statement. Hopefully I’m listening well I feel like now that you’re, now that I’m talking with someone who’s so good at communication and that’s your thing and I’m feeling under the spotlight here that I better really listened to what you are saying. 

Joel: (04:48)
Well, you just did step 1, which is self-disclosure. 

Todd: (04:51)
Oh, no kidding. Ok.

Joel: (04:52)
Yes. Step one self-disclosure, which is, you know, you lowered your status. So I feel a lot closer to you. Um, but you haven’t demeaned yourself. Uh, so you’re, you just told what your status is. This is where I’m at. Um, and so now I feel much more comfortable with you and you’ve reassured me, uh, and you earned, you’ve earned my trust just like that 

Todd: (05:13)
No kidding is that legitimately the first. Okay. So you called. Well that’s a great segue into what is, what is the process. But before we get into that, let me comment on just a couple things you said that I think are really interesting, and we can circle back to them. But one thing that was shocked, surprising to me was that, um, you said actors are really good listeners. So what I’m thinking when you say that is, is that just because they’re, they’re trying to really connect with the other actors or because they need to listen to the director or both. Um, so that was really interesting to hear. Um, and then another thing that was, um, that was interesting was you found that all these business people were coming to the acting classes. So I’d love to maybe that we can do later on is talk about why, why the skills of acting are important in business. Um, or you choose, do you want to do framework, uh, listening as an actor or? 

Joel: (06:12)
Yeah, I think listening as an actor, I think people, I think that’s, you know, instinctively that was the first thing that stood out for you. So let’s answer the what? question right off the top. Um, what people don’t realize, especially in film, it’s especially film and television actors, is that this little scene that we’re doing where we’re talking right now would be three cameras, different lighting. You and I might spend three days doing this take after take after take, just repeating those couple of lines cause it’s all technical fulfillment TV. So for us to recreate this moment, you have to forget everything and be genuinely present and listen as though as the first time. And it takes a lot of energy to not be thinking ahead, to not be thinking about what do I have to do after this or what happened before. But just to be in that moment and genuinely. Listen, it’s always the first time so that you’re not acting, you’re going to be reacting genuinely. Right. That’s the, that’s why reality TV is so popular. The camera’s always on the person who’s not talking to cameras and the person who’s reacting, how do they react? And that’s what listening is, is the genuine reactions because you really heard it. 

Todd: (07:23)
So it’s interesting you bring that up and I don’t, I don’t think we talked about this. I don’t think I sent it in any of my emails, but I actually had a small a appearance on a reality TV show myself. I was on fear factor, um, three times because I went on and I went on to the regular show, I won the first show, I went on to the championship episode, I won that. And then I went to the grand finale and I came in second out of the whole, everyone in the whole show for that season. I came in second out of 132 people and you’re spot on. You’re spot on because the cameras, there’s cameras everywhere. Very odd and awkward feeling for someone who’d never done anything like that before. Um, but they are there to watch your reaction. Like that’s, that is what they’re most interested in capturing to the, to the point where when they take you on set, they would have all six of us blindfolded. They would blindfold us and lead us to the, the event or the disgusting, you know, VAT of worms or whatever it was. And they would roll the cameras and then they would rip our blindfolds off and they would get that instant, Oh my gosh. The reaction.

Joel: (08:38)
So, uh, quickly what, you know, what led to, you all the sudden decide? Yeah, I feel like eating scorpions. 

Todd: (08:49)
No, it was, it was a random series of events and I was dating a girl at the time who was auditioning for a different show and I had nothing. I was not an actor. I had nothing to do with Hollywood. Um, I, they just, uh, basically she knew the right people that if I made a little audition tape, it would get to the top of the pile. And the pile was very big already. This was season two. It had taken off. So, um, so I did that and um, yeah, well maybe we’ll, 

Joel: (09:20)
I tip my hat to you. 

Todd: (09:21)
Thanks. Yeah, it was, we maybe we could do a whole show on that experience cause I don’t want to, I don’t want to get off track here, but yeah, it was, it was an amazing experience and uh, and walked away with 50 grand and uh, and a new car. All that. That’s amazing. Yeah, it was, it was, it was really spectacular. Really great experience. Um, but in that experience, like you’re very present. Cause they, they, they did a couple times, they made us repeat something cause you know, there was a person in the background or something was off, but, but it was pretty true to life. Right. And very different than what you’re talking about where they shoot the same scene over and over and over again. You have to really get present and block out. Right. Um, those, those outside, parts.

Joel: (10:07)
But they taught, they taught you acting basically because they, as you said, they teed it up for you. You didn’t know what was coming. So everything was going to be a genuine reaction. Uh, and they had different cameras to capture all the, to capture those moments. So it wasn’t just one camera, which we don’t have in life. We only get one take, uh, in real life. But on reality show there’s different angles to capture it. Or if it didn’t quite work out, you know, let’s do it again. 

Todd: (10:34)
Right. All right. So, so that’s really interesting about the, uh, about being present and listening. So as an actor, you’re, you’re onset and one of the other things you need to do is listen to take direction. Right? So how does listening play into taking direction? 

Joel: (10:54)
Uh, you know what, that’s where the second part of listening is, which is to clarify, uh, because you, uh, when you’re, especially in working on a commercial or a TV show, um, you don’t think you have no relationship with this director. You’re meeting them for the first time when you show up on set. Um, and even then the director of nine out of 10 times won’t even come up and sort of build rapport with you or anything like that. So all of a sudden you feel, you know, all eyes are on you. Uh, and just before they’re about to roll the shot, the director will say, uh, make sure it’s, it’s very technical. Make sure you’re looking at this screen. Uh, and I want a reaction on this. Honestly, that’s what you might clarify. That’s the second part of communication is so am I looking at the screen because it’s important that I’m gathering information or is it because I’m, uh, seeing something that I’ve never seen before? Like I didn’t even know what I’m supposed to be looking at cause I’m not looking at a screen, I’m looking at a at table that’s supposed to be a, a screen of some sort. So clarifying is where that comes in. So it’s not someone it’s listening to and end to make sure you clarify what it was, what was the intention the director is looking for. 

Todd: (12:07)
So let’s, um, I made bounced around a little bit. I’m so excited to get into this topic. Let’s, let’s go to your, your actual framework and maybe you can just stair step us through. Sure. And there’s the move framework. Is that, is that the listening framework or is that 

Joel: (12:23)
uh, no, the listening is a, I do, um, I go around, I do a one hour session called, so you think you can listen, which is bringing in, uh, improv and acting techniques. Uh, so it’s like a one hour. Basically people are on their feet for the whole hour because we’re, we’re going through different acting. Take these in different improvisation techniques on, uh, on listening. And that one, I, I use a different framework. I won’t get into that, so we don’t confuse the, the move. Uh, but that’s, that’s one thing. The move is, is, uh, putting it all together. Um, it’s from the acting world, which is an actor’s job is to move the other actor. That’s your job. Whether you’re, you’re on stage, you’re on TV, you’re, uh, an improv, you have one job, make sure you’re able to move that other actor, not physically, but move them with your intention. 

Joel: (13:13)
So in our, in our business world, whether we’re leading or having a difficult conversation or we’re in sales or customer service, we want to be able to move that other person. We want to break that cycle. So move stands for mindset. You know, what is happening before, what is your intention to open, which is to be curious and ask those clarifying questions and genuinely curious questions to verify. So, you know, before you want to move forward, is this, what is it, you know, is this correct? This is what I’m hearing, you know, a summary. And then you’ve earned the right to engage in that person is engaged, which is let’s get to those next steps or before the be the call to action. Most people skip mindset. They’re like, I’m just going to wing it or I’ve done this a million times. They’re not even thinking about that other person. Um, they’ve got their set up maybe questions that they’re going to ask. They may not even verify cause they’re so focused on basically getting, you know, closing that conversation whether it’d be difficult or sales or leadership. So that’s, that’s a nutshell of move. 

Todd: (14:22)
I liked that most of these are, um, very much taking responsibility for what happens in the conversation. Like the mindset is, is my mindset. If I’m trying to do something, I’m trying to move someone I’m trying to impact or motivate someone. It’s not about them. It’s about what I bring to the table. Right. That’s what I’m hearing. Maybe at the end it switches a little bit the engage, but it’s, it’s the, the doers mindset, right. Me being open. Right. And then that’s where the listening happens. I, well kind of where it starts, I guess. Yeah. And then verify as you know, more of that back and forth like, um, clarifying of what I heard or what I am assuming or, or hearing is, you know, is correct. Um, and then moving into engage. So it’s taking responsibility for that process happening. 

Joel: (15:23)
I always, I always say in your, you’re a parent as well. Uh, and I’m a parent as well. I always say somebody has to be the adult in this relationship. 

Todd: (15:32)
Yeah. 

Joel: (15:34)
It’s been the adults here. 

Todd: (15:35)
Yeah. Yeah. Well that’s really cool. Can you, can you give a little tangible example of where, where this is, where this is best used and then where maybe it surprises some of your clients that you can use this process. Um, I know whether that’s a work or home or with kids or know arguments. 

Joel: (15:55)
It works universally. Yeah. It does work with our kids, with kids as well. Um, and, and you know, let’s take a leadership as an example. And, um, you know, what I see is that people are leaders, but they’re not necessarily coaches, right? They’ve gone into this role because they were very successful with what they were doing. And now all of a sudden they have to coach. They’ve been told by the organization go out there and coach, uh, and people are, whether they’re afraid to coach, they just stick to that performance review. Oh, these numbers are really good. Keep it up. I’m worried about this. Uh, but I know you’re going to do better. So, um, uh, why don’t we meet again in six months at the next review? And, uh, any questions for me? Yeah. Um, so move is, is this number one is yes, maybe you know, Todd, maybe your numbers aren’t very good. 

Joel: (16:46)
Um, and so that’s my objective. My objective is to, uh, obviously you, you need to increase your, your numbers in sales. Uh, that’s the objective. But what’s my intention? My intention would be that’s where the mindset begins. What’s my intention? My intention is to maybe just get you to open up some more, uh, maybe find out what is holding you back. Is it behavioral? Is it uh, is it personal? Is it skill? Uh, find that out before judging that your numbers are bad and just go out and do it. So that’s, that’s one of the things. Have a purpose. If I come out of this session coaching session, Todd, and find out that it’s a behavior that lately you’re lacking motivation, you’re lacking direction, you don’t, you’re not feeling valued or whatever, then that’s going to have an impact on that, on the objective. So that’s what mindset is. Start with that. Also for myself, I have to have some sort of pre ritual, which is maybe I’ll do a lot of breathing exercises people because our brain requires 20% of our oxygen. Um, and that’s quite a lot for a small, a small little brain. And if we’re not breathing properly, it affects our choice of words. It affects our tone of voice. It affects our body language. So getting, make sure you breathe before those screen stressful moments, whether it be, you know, giving feedback to someone or having to tell it your, your kids, you know, difficult news is important that our breath is fully there and then we’re ready to go. So we’ve got our intention, we’ve got our breath under control and our breathing will control our, uh, our body language and our choice of words. Then the open is to, um, you know, have those questions that are genuinely curious, not a leading question such as don’t you think, which is, uh, you know, often comes up but more, you know, tell me more about this. 

Joel: (18:36)
Uh, what are your thoughts? More open genuinely, curious questions and were afraid to go there normally because we’re afraid it’s going to open the box or it’s not going to go where we want it to go. Um, and then we’re, then that’s where the listening starts, where we’re, so we’re listening and this is the key. We’re listening for accuracy, not assumptions, listening for accuracy, not assumptions. I really want to listen as though as though I’m hearing it for the first time and not clouded with my beliefs or my judgments about you, Todd, you know, maybe I’ve got some beliefs or some judgments about you, but I really want to listen here clearly for something that I might’ve missed in the past. And then the verify is really summarizing because maybe, maybe I was clouded with some assumptions and beliefs. So maybe I do want, I want to check into a, and it doesn’t have to be, you know, did I get this right? 

Joel: (19:26)
But it just has to be, I, you know, I love this when you said this is that is that, you know, is that what you meant is do I have it right? And then the engagement will probably be different than what you thought it was. So, but hopefully it fulfills that purpose, which was at the very beginning, my purpose was find out what is blocking Todd from increasing his sales numbers and now and now we can, we’ve earned the right to get to maybe next steps or a call to action depending on what, what we’ve uncovered. And so that would be an example as in a giving feedback example. 

Todd: (20:03)
That’s really good. How do you, you know, I threw out throughout my own life, I guess this is some more self-disclosure. I am, I’m not a person that runs towards conflict. Right. And a lot of them share that. So, uh, I mean even even listening to you, I can feel physically, like I’m imagining this happening, right? And I’m thinking back in my own maybe reviews that I’ve done with my employees and um, or I’ve had to have some difficult conversations and moments I’ve had where I’ve had to really either coach someone up or coach them out right. Where things had been going, not as planned within the company. And, um, you know, approaching those situations you get, well I personally get this like intense feeling in the pit of my stomach cause I know it’s going to be a difficult conversation. Um, how do you coach people to deal with that sort of, um, resistance more? I think a framework is really helpful in the breathing. Sure. Yeah, it helps a lot. But anything else that comes to mind that you can share? 

Joel: (25:16)
For sure. Uh, but I guess my first question to you would be, you know, why, why do you, um, why is this happening to you? Why do you, why do you think you are feeling that way? 

Todd: (25:28)
Um, I would say probably because I feel I am going to hurt the person I’m speaking with. That’s, I, you know, I can see how that is incorrect because it’s with good intention. Um, but that’s the, that would be the immediate thought. 

Joel: (25:48)
Yeah. Um, so there’s absolutely, you know, that’s, that’s fair, right? You’re, you’re a good person. Uh, we all are. Uh, or at least we’d like to think we are and we don’t want to you, you’ve already in a sense, you know, going back to acting, you’ve already played out the whole movie. 

Todd: (26:04)
Yeah. 

Joel: (26:07)
So what’s been happening is maybe you knew you had to give Jessica a really difficult feedback, maybe cut back her hours or tell Jessica, um, you know, this is the last warning or, or so forth. So, probably, you know, this is your emotion, right? This is, you know, this is, this is going up and then I love this. And then the night before you had that 3:00 AM instead of wake up in the middle of the night and you have a dress rehearsal, you basically play out your play out. I’m going to say this then Jessica is probably going to say that. And then I’m going to say that Jessica is going to say that. So you, you’ve already written the whole script. So you have to start by changing the story. You know that’s number one. You already said you’re getting ready for a difficult conversation. So you’ve already, you’ve already prepared to fulfill that fallacy. Your, your self talk is already geared towards that. So the first thing is you gotta be able to stop that self talk and you’ve got to challenge that and say, okay, why do I think, okay, she will be upset. So now how do I want to react to that before, you know, drop my agenda, drop my own ego? How do I want to react to it? I know there’s a good chance that somebody will be upset. Um, and this is something we haven’t really talked about. Part of the move model is that you, you know, empathy comes in there as well. And empathy is not sympathy. Empathy is not feeling sorry for the person. Empathy is, I’m going to have to be prepared to acknowledge someone’s emotions. 

Joel: (27:31)
I may not like them. I may not agree with them. Uh, Jessica has been slacking off and she and, and everything. Uh, but if Jessica starts to say, this isn’t fair, um, I’ve worked hard here. You know, do I want to raise her temperature or do I want to acknowledge it and make her feel understood and validated? Yeah. So that’s what empathy is. Just, you know, uh, Jessica, you know, you, you’ve been totally, uh, slacking off. We’ve got to cut back your hours and just, it says that’s not fair. I had been working really, really hard and then we need to come up with then the next statement, which is what do you see? What do you hear? That’s all empathy is what do you see? What do you hear as far as the emotion? And you know, I’d see Jessica that this, this came as a surprise to you and I could see that this job is really important to you. And you pause right there. So if you want to take the pit of your stomach, think about how can I lower my own temperature and how can I lower her temperature? It starts with that. Is that your, your intention will be your objective. Cut back the hours, the intention, lower the temperature. 

Todd: (28:44)
Yeah, you know, one thing that, um, from a sales perspective that’s worked for me and I feel like it really changes the conversation is when you start thinking I’m at a certain point in the conversation as soon as possible. Um, you start kind of seeing yourself on the same side of the table as the customer, right? So like, instead of like me trying to sell you this thing to solve this problem, it’s like as soon as possible go around the other side of the table and say, how are we going to solve this challenge that the business your business client customer is having? Right? Can you use the same framework here right when you start communicating? 

Joel: (29:31)
Absolutely. Um, you know, the, the best tip I ever got with someone’s coaching me, watching me give him feedback was, uh, that I was sitting on this edge of the table giving feedback that person over there like that. And so, absolutely, you know, even just leaning in, if you can, you know, you don’t want to start getting up and sitting next to them, which can feel awkward sometimes. Right. Just leaning in and showing them that they are important. And then as you said, taught that we’re both looking at the problem together. Uh, and that’s really the key did to influencing is to be able to sit next to that person and look at it together. You know, your whole idea of the dinner parties is, is brilliant because that’s exactly what it is. Let’s, let’s get together in an informal kind of way, um, and share mutual purposes and mutual problems. Uh, and that’s, that’s really, uh, for lack of better word, brilliant way to, communicate. 

Todd: (30:26)
Yeah. Yeah. Very neat. And then in terms of engaging, right, if, what if, what if you’re just not, you know, worked with some amazing companies that are just on point nav, their core values figured out and their mission and their purpose, and it seems like every single person is totally in alignment. And then more often than that is a company that grew quickly, has sort of a mishmash of people with very different values. So you end up with people who are working at a company and potentially producing good things and getting good results, but are not very different than the leadership. Right. So if you’re trying, if you, if you find yourself in a situation like that, whether it’s your company or a company you’ve been hired into, um, and you’re trying to engage someone who might be radically different than you and really not totally aligned with the, with the corporate identity or purpose. Um, what are some engagement strategies that work universally like for, for everyone? Can you, can you engage someone who is a misfit in that company or do they have to leave? I guess that’s what I’m getting at. 

Joel: (31:43)
You know, sometimes, yeah, sometimes they do have to leave. Sometimes someone is just, this can’t work on everybody. We’re not robots. Uh, so sometimes someone is just, they’ve got issues and no matter how much you empathize or try to communicate with them, you know, 

Todd: (32:01)
Just to throw in one more thing. Is the reason I asked such a specific question of this is I found in my own career, I have been, I’ve been good at being a middleman between people that have a hard time communicating, right? So back in my film career, not acting career, film, industry, career, I did visual effects and animation, right? Cause you like if you put an animator like a 3d visual effects animator, which really very technical, kind of geeky, like behind the scenes computer guys, if you put that in a room with a creative who’s wanting to design these big fancy visual effects shots, it’s a, they can’t, they just don’t talk the same. And if you put those people together, the animator will say, well they can do everything. And the creative will say, we want this big incredible shot. You end up with a budget that’s literally a thousand times what? It’s allowable. Right? So I’ve found that I’m a, I’m a good middleman for some people that I think have a very hard time understanding each other. Um, and that happens in the marketing world as well, like especially the technical marketing world where you have like these analytics and conversion, very data-driven marketers and you know, visionary leaders of companies, sometimes they have a hard time communicating. Um, doesn’t mean they can’t work together. You can’t get your great results. So, um, just want to throw out that other little twist that adds to my curiosity here. 

Joel: (33:28)
Well, you know, it’s, it’s, that’s communication styles, right? So someone’s very analytical and someone’s very expressive. You know, someone’s, the big storyteller, uh, speaks fast. Uh, everything is a story. Everything is big picture, not detail oriented. And then, you know, to your example, and the other person has analytical things before they speak. Um, you know, only here’s the logic, not very emotional. So if you’re trying to move that other person, then you’re going to have to adapt your style. You’re going to have to find out what is relevant to that person. Um, starting off by even lowering your rate of speech, you know, slowing down, not speaking so fast. Um, I don’t know if you’ve ever had this. I think we’re both pretty fast talkers, but you know, when someone’s speaking very deliberately, very slowly, you get a little bit impatient. Uh, and so if you want to communicate with that person, you want to move them, then I consciously would have to make sure that I’m going to slow down my rate of speech so that they will feel respected and understood. And if they feel respected and understood, there’ll be more open to hearing what my ideas are. If I’m speaking really fast, they’re not going to be hearing my, my big ideas. They’re just, they’ve already decided I don’t get, it doesn’t make any sense. It’s jibber Jabber. 

Todd: (34:48)
Yeah. What about, um, you know, I’ve found that sometimes in, in these areas of seemingly simple but not easy life skills, like listen, right? Like you can probably point out a few things that are really simple to do, but most people don’t, or they don’t do them. It continuously enough to, you know, to, to ingrain those habits. Um, so some things are very simple but not easy. And I’m sure you’ve even dropped a few knowledge nuggets that I didn’t even pick up on, but you’ve probably seen over and over and over and over again. So, um, what would you say is like something that like a daily practice that someone can do, like maybe not getting overwhelmed that they have to follow every single step, but something, it’s, it’s very simple that they could do either on a daily basis or they could try inserting this into conversations that could help them really make progress here and listening and moving people. 

Joel: (35:56)
Yeah. You know, I think one of the best tips for, on how you can practice on better listening, um, is there’s an exercise that I do and it’s called listen without solving a problem. 

Todd: (36:08)
Oh wow. I need to do that. My wife, I should call her down right now. Um, yeah, I think I can see why that’s important because, um, there’s a lot of people out there that just tried to solve the problem. And I am one, sorry. I will, I will zip it. 

Joel: (36:28)
That’s our human instinct. We want to help, right? We want to be of service. And it goes counter-intuitive. That actually just listening is helpful. Yeah. Cause often if you let someone speak for a while, they’ll solve, they’ll solve their own problem. Um, and if you answer that person back with just saying back, what did you hear or what did you see? You know, wow, wow, that was really frustrating. Uh, or wow, when you were the middle man in that animation production company, uh, that, that must’ve been a stressful everyday knowing that you’re going to have to come in, in between and sort of be the, like the star Trek translator for everybody, right? So when you say these things back to people to show that you are listening, uh, they feel understood and respected. And so the, listen, what they’ll solve a problem is we put two people together and you can practice this with your wife. You could practice this with your kids. You could practice this with a coworker is, um, one person sits, shares a problem, a personal problem. Um, and not so personal that you say, Oh, I think there’s a cream or gel for that. Right? So, um, and uh, as that person sharing that problem, you just listen for a whole minute, like time it for a whole minute interrupting, uh, without taking notes, uh, and really force your brain to really have to listen to what that person is saying. Because after that minute you’re going to repeat back, what did you hear? What did you see? You know, what, what was your impression, not the words, but what was your impression of what you heard, what you saw and just say 15 seconds back, what you heard or what you saw. And it’s amazing how many people who say, I’m really good at listening, how that changes for them. And they realize they are always listening to either A ask a question, or B to solve a problem, but they’re not really genuinely listening to understand that person. 

Todd: (38:20)
Yeah, that’s a, that’s a great one. I think I will try to implement that today. Um, if you are a chronic problem solver, right? Does that, does that say something about, um, about yourself? That when I speak to someone, I want them to just tell me how to solve the problem or is it something else? I don’t know if I’m asking that correctly. Does that make sense? 

Joel: (38:46)
Well, when you, so when you’re talking, do you want someone to help you when you’re talking Todd, like specific, do you want someone to solve the problem for you? Like when you’re sharing something, what do you, what do you look, what do you use to be? 

Todd: (38:56)
I think so. I think so. I, but maybe, maybe that is, um, maybe that’s incorrect. Maybe that’s a false assumption, but I think that when I do take the time to explain something and I share it with someone, I just want an answer. I want to know what to do right now to fix it. So that’s why I try to do the same when other people are speaking to me. 

Joel: (39:16)
Yeah, absolutely. Uh, so that’s, that’s what you want, right? Um, I was actually just looking the other day, uh, uh, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Dan pink. Oh yeah, I love his stuff. Uh, and he was just sharing that we all need like a user’s manual where you’re going around and you write the four things on how to communicate with you. Here’s, here’s the, here’s the things that I need on how you can communicate with me. So one of them would be, uh, uh, when I’m talking, I’m asking, I want you to be able to solve this problem for me. I’m looking for that. That is important to me. 

Todd: (39:50)
Yeah. It’s interesting. Yeah. And the counterintuitive I think is such a great word in every, I swear, every time I hear a guest say it’s counterintuitive, I listen because those I think are the biggest gems in my own life. It’s kind of sort of points as your blind spot, right? Um, humans have really funny blind spots and it’s, it’s a counterintuitive things that I think, um, separate the superstars from the rest sometimes.

Joel: (40:26)
It’s being aware of your habits. Like, okay, so that my habit is always to solve a problem. Uh, and basically, you know, from a neuroscience point of view, right? You’ve built that highway in your brain, it’s cemented, it’s clear, you could see it. Uh, it’s, it’s easy. Um, what’s uncomfortable and, and your is, you know, the counterintuitive and it’s funny things that become, uh, intuitive after a while become new habits. So like, you know, your, your two kids, I dunno, have you, have you started to teach them how to ride a bike? 

Todd: (40:57)
Yes. 

Joel: (40:59)
Okay. How did that go? 

Todd: (41:01)
Uh, you know, actually for the first one, he, he got it way quicker than I expected. I dunno if that’s gonna fit into the point you’re trying to make or not. 

Joel: (41:15)
No, it’s, no, it’s good. I mean, every, that’s the thing. Everybody is different. So my kids were, were useless and they’re both quite athletic. Uh, but both times I literally, it was like my back was killing me cause I’m like leaning over and they keep peddling backwards and every time they get on the bike they do this falling over to the point where it just go, what is your major problem? I’m no longer the communication coach. Everybody’s biking. Look? You just, you know, you peddle way back. He’s so complicated cause they were so conscious of what they were doing. Um, and now of course it’s unconscious, but so that’s what I mean by sometimes we were so set in our ways and when we do something different, it’s going to feel like, like thinking about how do I breathe all of a sudden, or how do I walk? If you give it too much thought, it becomes really weird. Um, so listening to us solving a problem can feel very counterintuitive because I want to solve it. It’s what I need, but maybe not with the other person needs.

Todd: (43:49)
So Joel, this has been great. I have a ton of really good notes, so you’ve got some really good frameworks here and quick tips and stuff too that I’m going to try to integrate ongoing with, uh, with my personal life and in business as well. My wife is going to very much appreciate the listening without solving your problem. I can guarantee 

Joel: (44:32)
I like a good ham at Christmas. 

Todd: (44:37)
Exactly! Um, for people listening or watching that want to get more of what you have or see some more of your material, where can they go? 

Joel: (44:45)
Uh, well first off, you can feel free to come over to my website, www.joel.silverstone.com. Uh, follow me on Instagram where I share some of these tips at a Silverstone communications on Instagram or Silverstone talk at, uh, Twitter. Uh, but definitely on my website there’ll be some, there’s some videos, there’s a couple of my, what I call my Silverstone communication transmissions, which is my, my blogs and helpful tips. And, uh, yeah. And, and also I encourage you to, you know, people that I love to follow is Dan pink. He’s really good with, uh, his newsletter. He’s got some great tips. Um, and I’ve always enjoyed, I keep rereading crucial conversations, which is, especially when you have that pit in your stomach. That’s a great book to, uh, to read if you’re trying to avoid, uh, not avoid but better deal with those difficult conversations. Um, and, um, anything you could read about emotional intelligence, I think whenever you could build your, your self awareness, you know, as we said at the very beginning, you know, it starts with you. Um, and then how do you manage it? And then being aware of that other person, I think is so important in whatever you do as a parent or in sales or as leadership or difficult conversations. 

Todd: (45:59)
Excellent. Joel, thank you so much, really appreciate you and, uh, learned, learned a lot from you today. 

Joel: (46:05)
Terrific. It was great meeting you and thank you for the conversation, Todd. 

Todd: (46:08)
All right, have a great one. 

Todd: (46:10)
All right. You too. Take care.

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