Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone

Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone


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Getting through to someone is a fine art, indeed, but a critical one nonetheless. Whether you are dealing with a harried colleague, a stressed-out client, or an insecure spouse, things will go from bad to worse if you can't break through emotional barricades and get your message thoroughly communicated and registered.Drawing on his experience as a psychiatrist, business consultant, and coach, author Mark Goulston shares simple but powerful techniques readers can use to break through the stubborn and hardened outer layers of coworkers, friends, strangers, or even enemies. Just Listen reveals how to:• Make a powerful and positive first impression• Listen effectively• Talk an angry or aggressive person away from an unproductive reaction and toward a more rational mindset• Achieve buy-in—the linchpin of all persuasion, negotiation, and sales• And moreWhether you’re dealing with an angry client, a potential customer, or even a friend or family member who isn’t seeing eye to eye with you, your goal is most likely persuasion. And the first make-or-break step to getting there is having them hear you out. The invaluable principles in Just Listen will get you through that first tough step with anyone.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814436479
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 03/04/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 97,030
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

MARK GOULSTON is a business advisor, consultant, coach, speaker, and psychiatrist. The author of Get Out of Your Own Way and other popular books, he blogs for Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, and Psychology Today; co-hosts a weekly radio show; and is featured frequently in major media, including The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Newsweek, Time, CNN, Fox News, and the TODAY show.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Who’s Holding You Hostage?

Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.


Right now, there’s someone in your life you need to reach. But you can’t, and it’s driving you crazy. Maybe it’s somebody at work: a subordinate, a team member, a client, your boss. Or maybe it’s somebody at home: a partner, a parent, a defiant teen, an angry “ex.”

You’ve tried everything—logic, persuasion, forcefulness, pleading, anger—but you’ve hit a wall every time. You’re mad, scared, or frustrated. And you’re thinking, “What now?”

Here’s what I want you to do: Think of this as a hostage situation. Why? Because you can’t get free. You’re trapped by another person’s resistance, fear, hostility, apathy, stubbornness, self-cen teredness, or neediness—and by your own inability to take effective action.

And that’s where I come in. I’m just an average guy—husband, father, doctor—but a long time ago, I discovered that I had a special talent. You could drop me into just about any situation, and I could reach people. I could persuade defiant executives, angry employees, or self-destructing management teams to work cooperatively toward solutions. I could get through to families in turmoil and to married couples who hated each other’s guts. I could even change the minds of hostage takers and desperate people contemplating suicide. a wasn’t sure what I was doing differently from everybody else, but I could tell it worked. I knew I wasn’t smarter than everybody else, and I knew my success wasn’t just luck because what I did worked consistently, and it worked with all kinds of people in every type of situation. But why did it work?

In analyzing my methods, I found the answer. It turned out I’d happened on a simple, quick set of techniques—some I’d discovered on my own, and others I’d learned from mentors and colleagues—that create traction. That is, they pull people toward me, even if those people are trying to pull away.

To understand this, picture yourself driving up a steep hill. Your tires slip and slide and can’t grab hold. But downshift, and you get control. It’s like pulling the road to meet you.

Most people upshift when they want to get through to other people. They persuade. They encourage. They argue. They push. And in the process, they create resistance. When you use the techniques I offer, you’ll do exactly the opposite—you’ll listen, ask, mirror, and reflect back to people what you’ve heard. When you do, they will feel seen, understood, and felt—and that unexpected downshift will draw them to you.

The powerful techniques you’ll learn in this book can move people rapidly and easily, often within minutes, from “no” to “yes.” I employ them every day to fix broken families and help warring couples fall in love again. I use them to save companies on the brink of meltdown, get feuding managers to work together effectively, and empower salespeople to make “impossible” sales. And I use them to help FBI agents and hostage negotiators succeed in the toughest situations possible, when life and death are on the line.

Table of Contents


Foreword by Keith Ferrazzi xiii

Preface to the Paperback Edition xv

Acknowledgments xvii

SECTION I The Secret to Reaching Anyone 1

1 Who’s Holding YOU Hostage? 3

2 A Little Science: How the Brain Goes from “No” to “Yes” 14

SECTION II The 9 Core Rules for Getting Through to Anyone 25

3 Move Yourself from “Oh F#@& to OK” 27

4 Rewire Yourself to Listen 36

5 Make the Other Person Feel “Felt” 45

6 Be More Interested Than Interesting 55

7 Make People Feel Valuable 64

8 Help People to Exhale Emotionally and Mentally 69

9 Check Your Dissonance at the Door 77

10 When All Seems Lost—Bare Your Neck 87

11 Steer Clear of Toxic People 94

SECTION III 12 Easy-to-Use Tools for Achieving Buy-in and Getting Through 109

12 The Impossibility Question 111

13 The Magic Paradox 116

14 The Empathy Jolt 123

15 The Reverse Play, Empathy Jolt #2 132

16 “Do You Believe That?” 138

17 The Power of “Hmmm. . . .” 142

18 The Stipulation Gambit 150

19 From Transaction to Transformation 155

20 Side by Side 163

21 Fill in the Blanks 170

22 Take It All the Way to “No” 176

23 The Power Thank You and Power Apology 180

SECTION IV Fast Fixes for 7 Challenging Situations 187

24 The Team from Hell 189

25 Climbing the Ladder 194

26 The Narcissist at the Table 197

27 Stranger in Town 200

28 The Human Explosion 204

29 Getting Through to Yourself 209

30 Six Degrees of Separation 215

Afterword 221

Index 223

About the Author 231

Keynotes/Workshops 233

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"'Just Listen' could be the definitive book on communication--today's generation's How to Win Friends and Influence People."
-Marty Nemko, Contributing Editor, U.S. News & World Report

Customer Reviews

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Just Listen 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Retired_Chief More than 1 year ago
Mark Goulston has done a great job of explaining how the communication cycle works. He uses relevant examples to illustrate his ideas to help you not only listen but how to be heard. His information can be used in the workplace if you are employee having trouble getting through to people or as a supervisor who has to lead up or down ladder. He also uses examples that offer solutions to communication problems at home with your kids or spouse. The end of chapter includes a practical application tool for you to use to practice or use the concept you've just read about. If you ever thought "why don't people listen me" this book is for you!
alevy More than 1 year ago
Put simply, "Just Listen" is fabulous! It is a "must-read" for anyone who wants to enhance their relationships with others and with themselves. It contains practical and pragmatic approaches to many of the uncomfortable and difficult situations most of us encounter in both our professional and personal lives. Dr. Goulston provides the reader with real, usable language and strategies that are clearly designed to ensure successful outcomes. "Just Listen" is an invaluable tool for everyone! Dr. Goulston has truly hit a home-run with this gem of a book!
markwarner268 More than 1 year ago
Mark Goulston has hit another home run. Just Listen provides excellent advice for how to improve your relationships with even the most difficult people. The book provides just enough detail on how the brain works to make understanding the concepts easier without needing a medical degree to understand it. The nine rules for getting through to anyone are all the practices the popular and effective people use to get their point across. Mark details these practices in a way everyone can understand and put to use. The 12 ways to achieve buy-in are simple, actionable methods that will dramatically improve your ability to communicate and connect. If you only read one book this year, make it Just Listen - it is a life changer!
CoachEd More than 1 year ago
Mark has done a fine job in helping others to become better listeners. His techniques really work. I use the book in my college sales classes. Highly recommend it. You won't be disappointed.
DianaG More than 1 year ago
You'll see yourself just in the first page, tolerating someone difficult you gives you gray hair. This is more than a game of words, it is a real way to reach beyond another person's attitude by reaching into yourself first. A very healthy and productive approach that will help a lot of people personally and professionally.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best communication book I've ever read. (And one of the most helpful of all books, period.) If you've got someone that you want to get through to, this is the book for you. I love that it's based on science, so it all makes perfect sense; but it's easy to read and engaging, and full of practical examples. So many valuable tools and techniques in one book! This is a must-read for anyone--and works in both professional or personal life. Congratulations to Mark Goulston on a remarkable book.
GShuk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent book that goes into listening as well as questioning and leading conversations. He goes beyond the standard mirroring and focusing on others that most books on listening suggest. It also included some powerful suggestions on sales lines. On the downside there were parts I would skip for they were a little presumptuous and other parts that I do not agree with. However, there were enough great parts to recommend this book.
Tmtrvlr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Are you a good listener? Do you really listen? Even if your answer is yes, you may be surprised when you read this book. In Just Listen, Dr. Mark Goulston uses case studies from his extensive experience as a clinical psychiatrist, business advisor, and FBI/police hostage negotiation trainer. The author gives specific examples of problem solving conversations for managing not only co-workers and employees, but also family members, including teenagers. In the workplace, the author gives details on how listening, questioning, and leading conversations help to motivate and encourage teamwork. There are specific remedies for those problem people in employment situations. I was impressed with the way the author suggested compassionate solutions when investigating the reasons for problem behavior. My favorite story was of a businessman who sought advice on his work situation. It changed his life, not because he used that advice at work, but because he used it in his home. Each section ends with a ¿Usable Insight¿ and an ¿Action Step¿ with specific ideas for the reader to put the words into action. Just Listen has broad appeal as an instruction book not only for business, but also for personal relationships. Learn about yourself and how you relate with those around you. Transform yourself and those around you.
amimariscal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is full of practical tips and activities for understanding & communicating with yourself and others. One particularly great technique describes how-to calm yourself in the event of a crisis. I took many notes while listening to this book and have started practicing the calming technique. I plan on coming back to "Just Listen" again and again.
spbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An excellent book on communication based on what the author calls mirror neuron deficit. Very powerful strategies but need wisdom to know when to implement and the avoidance of a mechanical approach. Highly recommend.
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RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
Being the life of the party won't help you make a sale. In fact, letting other people take the spotlight will actually garner more admiration and eventual "buy-in," explains psychiatrist Mark Goulston. This advice follows his axiom, "be more interested than interesting," which is one of his nine principles for connecting with others. Goulston, who has trained police officers and U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation hostage negotiators, devotes a chapter each to 12 powerful techniques you can use to be more persuasive. His systems and strategies will help you cross the natural barriers people erect to protect themselves, so you can communicate your ideas and goals. He fleshes out each lesson with real-life examples and engaging stories. getAbstract thinks you'll find this book quite helpful in refining ways to "get through" to others. If Goulston can negotiate with a desperate gunman, he surely can help you sway a customer - or even your teenager. To learn more about this book, check out the following Web page: http://www.getabstract.com/summary/13016/just-listen.html
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