Listen When You Talk

Do you listen when you talk? I nicknamed a recent training class of mine the “Precision Communicators.” The 9 Instigators and 1 Empathizer communicator all told me they can do two things at once pretty well, including: “Listen when you talk.” Listening to hear with three ears, while speaking with a straight (not forked) tongue, changes us all.


How can you take communication training back to your home turf? The following strategies are what my team of “I’ll walk a mile in your moccasins for a change!” Precision Communicators told me that the wise man and woman…

1. ALLOCATE TIME. Minutes a day and small changes net huge rewards.

2. SPEAK POSITIVELY. You get a lot more out of your people when you speak positively. Catch someone in the act of doing something well.

3. STUDY MY WORKERS. Pinpoint your workers’ types (Empathizer or Instigator) so you’re not blind-sided.

4. RESPECT EVERYONE. Know the talk type of your life partner, your kids, and your grandkids. Create a “Talk Type Family Genealogy Tree.” Also, notice your weaknesses and improve them…don’t accept “There’s nothing I could do,” or “It hit me out of the blue.”

5. TALK TO MY OPPOSITES. Be more genuine with those people with whom you don’t get along. Speak up and disagree when you should, and don’t withdraw behind a resentment wall or look the other way.

6. LISTEN BETTER. Listen to what you’re saying, for a change, so you don’t put your foot in your mouth. That’s the way to get to the problem. Don’t listen for the quick fix or for what you want to direct and react to. Use “I need to see you a few minutes,” to spread the praise around.

7. LISTEN WHEN YOU TALK. It’s so easy to pull someone in when you talk, by listening without an agenda. Don’t shut your fellow communicator down by getting things off your chest while downing your fellow talk traveler, who will then pollute everything.

8. DON’T EXPECT EVERYONE TO BE LIKE YOU. Realize everybody’s different…except that we all need praise – praise when you don’t want or need something. Ease into the praise so you don’t sound patronizing.

9. SET THE TIME TO TALK. Put on your to-do list to talk with someone whom you ordinarily don’t take a minute to converse. Set time aside when you have none, to make deposits in your Communication Savings Account.

10. MAKE YOURSELF AVAILABLE AND ACCESSIBLE. It’s easy to barricade yourself in your office and go at it with paperwork. Get out of your comfort zone! In order to have unexpected communication opportunities, you need to be where the people are!


“Whistle While You Work” was an inspiring song in Disney’s The Seven Dwarfs. I define listen while you talk as: Listening to the non-verbal cues your co-communicator is sending out to you to forge a deeper connection. Does a positive question or positive statement come to mind that you can share? Example: “Thanks for all your extra efforts around here.” Pinpoint to whom you’re talking by communicator type, Empathizer or Instigator. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then you’re not licensed to drive on the two-way Communicator Highway.


Dr. O’Grady’s Talk2Me communication system gives people tools which enable them to successfully travel on the two-way communication highway and to reap the rewards of their investments in their people and company. Dennis can be reached at 937-428-0724.

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