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

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

by Mark Goulston


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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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814436479
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 03/04/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 83,780
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Mark Goulston, MD, FAPA is a board-certified psychiatrist, fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, former assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA NPI, and a former FBI and police hostage negotiation trainer. He is the creator of Theory Y Executive Coaching—which he provides to CEOs, presidents, founders, and entrepreneurs—and is a TEDx and international keynote speaker. He is the creator and developer of Surgical Empathy, a process to help people recover and heal from PTSD, prevent suicide in teenagers and young adults, and help organizations overcome implicit bias. Dr. Goulston is the author or principal author of seven prior books, including Why Cope When you Can Heal: How Healthcare Heroes of COVID-19 Can Recover from PTSD, PTSD for Dummies, Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior, Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone, Real Influence: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In, and Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life. He hosts the My Wakeup Call podcast, where he speaks with influencers about their purpose in life and the wakeup calls that led them there. He also is the co-creator and moderator of the multi-honored documentary Stay Alive: An Intimate Conversation About Suicide Prevention.

He appears frequently as a human psychology and behavior subject-area expert across all media, including news outlets ABC, NBC, CBS, and BBC News, as well as CNN, Today, Oprah, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Fast Company, Huffington Post, and Westwood One.

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