Active Listening


How do you listen to hear? One-way communication results from multi-tasking. Communication accidents that land you in a relationship ditch involve listening passively but not hearing, while multi-taking. Example: Half-listening to the speaker, while trying to problem solve another issue in your head, at the same time.


How do you cue yourself into being an empathetic listener? After all, you don’t want to give your talk partner the short end of the stick! Instigator communicators can make a speaker feel like a first-class teammate through these active listening steps:

1. Concentrate on removing distractions

2. Dedicate your concentration to your talk partner

3. Don’t have multiple conversations at once

4. Don’t try to figure out something else at the same time you’re listening

5. Ask questions to help you comprehend

6. You can only do one thing well at a time, so LISTEN


Listen: Don’t make an argument out of it! What’s in it for you to listen like an Empathizer? To learn more about the speaker and make the speaker feel like he or she matters. Works like a charm with Empathizer-type communicators who will continue to grow closer to you and work harder with you for mutual benefit.

“Talk Doc” Dennis O’Grady provides relationship help, family business consulting, and TALK2ME© positive and effective communication training for teams.

Building Communication Bridges

During the TALK2ME© University of Dayton training participants were asked: “What key do you put into the ignition knowing it will reliably turn over the engine of effective communication? That same key that keeps you in the driver’s seat of your blue Empathizer car or your burnt orange Instigator car driving safely down the two-way communicator highway?”

Each individual response reflects an honest, reflective key to personal success in communication.  Collectively, the responses are extremely effective tools for improving communication and strengthening interpersonal relationships.

  • Genuine desire to listen
  • Having communication – not avoiding
  • Empathy – understanding the feelings of others even if not your own
  • Listening to what others are actually saying
  • Listening to understand the content of the situation; Understanding the content of the strategic plan
  • Understanding the details and how the message is received – the tone
  • Understanding who you are communicating to and the content
  • Having perspective – not bringing in your own personal issues
  • How you interact with others and the ability to change
  • Positive attitude – being able to separate events
  • Truth – Honesty – No Manipulation.  Need to get to the point.
  • Attitude – can set up real barriers
  • Moving personal agendas aside to listen
  • Active listening – Stay engaged in the conversation – Eye contact with others


What is the “best mood” or “climate” of the work culture in which you would prefer to work and are responsible for creating? These truths set you free…

–       TRUTH (genuine honesty, truth sets you free, face-to-face discussions of dissatisfactions to seek solutions)

–       EMPATHY (the PATH is listening with empathy)

–       ENGAGE (go to the person, pick up the phone, ask for clarifying feedback)

As effective and responsible communicators you acknowledged that you alone are accountable for doing your best to build bridges of communication trust with each and every one of your team leaders.

TALK2ME© system co-presenters Dr. Dennis O’Grady and Kathryn

Don’t Just Talk. Communicate!


Dr. Dennis O’Grady has a message for marketers and other business people: “You may be talking your way out of successful customer relationships without realizing it.” As a Dayton-based clinical psychologist who specializes in interpersonal communications, Dr. O’Grady has distilled years of research into a communication system he explains in his book, “Talk To Me” (available in local bookstores and on

According to Dr. O’Grady, “Just as people are born either left-handed or right-handed, they are born as one of two types of communicators. I’ve designated these as Empathizer-Types (E-Types) or Instigator-Types (I-Types). One type isn’t better or worse than the other, and they both have their strengths and weaknesses. The trick is to know which type you are, learn the characteristics of both types and be able to use this knowledge to communicate more effectively.”

So what does all of this have to do with marketing communications? Plenty. As savvy marketing people have moved from focusing on individual transactions to developing deeper customer relationships, it’s more important than ever that we understand each other explicitly. Have you ever lost a customer and didn’t know why? It could be that you were simply not communicating effectively. You may have unknowingly hurt the customer’s feelings. Or perhaps they felt that you didn’t pay enough attention to what they were telling you.

That’s where the TALK2ME system comes in. By learning which type of communicator you are and understanding the traits of your opposite type, you’ll have the communication skills you need to talk with your customers instead of talking to them. As a result, you can create more profitable relationships.

Through the metaphor of communications as a superhighway, Dr. O’Grady’s system enables readers to learn and use the strengths of both E- and I-Types to avoid communication “accidents” that prevent us from achieving our goals.

“On this highway,” Dr. O’Grady tells us, “E-Types drive ocean blue-colored cars because their emotions run as deep as the ocean, and they put the ‘motion’ in the word ‘emotion.’ I-Types drive burnt orange cars because they burn as bright as the sun and love to instigate and lead change. E-Types complain that I-Types don’t listen to them, and I-Types complain that E-Types don’t drive past their moods fast enough.”

Which type of communicator do you think you are? According to the book, you are likely an Empathizer Type if:

  • – By nature, you are a sensitive person.
  • – You are an empathetic leader.
  • – You are a good follower and a team player.
  • – You struggle with your feelings getting hurt too easily and for too long.
  • – You are a great listener because you listen open-mindedly with three ears.

You are likely an Instigator Type if:

  • – By nature, you are a less sensitive person.
  • – You are a strategic leader.
  • – You are a good problem-solver and debater.
  • – You struggle with biting your tongue or sticking your foot in your mouth, wishing you could take back your words.
  • – You have guts galore and courage to lead the way ahead through the unknown.
  • – You listen selectively with a goal in mind, and you expect people to push back and spark a conversation.

You can find out for certain which type communicator you are by visiting and clicking on “What’s your type?” Your answers to a dozen short questions will tell you. I answered these questions and quickly found my communications type is…well, I’ll let you guess.

By the way, the lessons learned through Dr. O’Grady’s system not only help you to be a better marketer, they can also make communicating with your business associates and those closest to you in your personal life much more effective. Which may be an even better reason to check it out.

Norman J. Vallone is a marketing strategist who helps businesses achieve their goals by advising, training and empowering them to strategically market their products and services.

Communication Turn-Ons


Drivers on the two-way communication highway avoid turning off good talk. Common barriers to effective communication which seminar members say you must steer around:


  • Emotions, emotional displays, drama
  • Too much talk without saying anything
  • Beating around the bush instead of getting to the point
  • Inaccurate information – too many feelings not enough facts
  • Bad outlook
  • Bad mood
  • Shooting the messenger
  • Saying one thing and doing another
  • Putting value on project, not people
  • Mistrust
  • Discourage telling truth


You want to create talk that is priceless? You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Try these talk shoes on for size:

  • Be rational
  • Ask directive questions
  • Listen with three ears
  • Ask for more facts and fewer feelings
  • Use a good outlook on life
  • Spread a good mood around when times are tough
  • Implement what the messenger advises
  • Do the new and record the results to logically find out what works
  • Put value equally on getting things done and on the people who get the things done
  • Build bridges of trust by being reliable
  • Encourage telling the truth…which sets you free


It’s all about communication. Everyone says so…everyone knows so. Every organization and family flies or flunks based on their effective use of communication skills and tools. The TALK2ME© system can show you the map around communication turnoffs and the way to get on down the road of solving problems and seizing opportunities.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Dennis O’Grady is the developer of the TALK2ME© system, which is central to business innovation and couple communication through using positive and effective communication tools.

Communicate Effectively


Experienced communicators don’t fail to fail, but they do successfully learn from their mistakes. Our first TALK2ME© communication training session held thousands of years of real life communication driving school experiences – tips and tools guaranteed to break down Jersey walls or barriers which restrict communication during tumultuous travel times.


What one rule of good communication do you follow when nothing else seems to be working, and the chips are down? This is your group wisdom! By communicating effectively you LEARN and EARN. By doing what?

  • Understanding objections
  • Having patience; look at the big picture
  • Clearing the decks by using a “laser focus” to hone in on one thing
  • Being honest with oneself; admit and correct mistakes
  • Keeping an open mind; don’t let T.V. do your thinking for you
  • By just listening
  • When in a traffic jam, taking a helicopter view of the situation
  • Utilizing a listening discussion vs. a debating discussion
  • Changing the channel of “I’m usually right!” selective listening
  • Presenting an “I can solve problems” positive attitude
  • Changing your viewpoint; agreeing to disagree; not either/or but both/and
  • Being more tolerant; seeking to understand
  • Doing your prep work and using your work ethic
  • Calming yourself down by leaving emotions out


Do you talk at people or talk with people? Are you shrinking from facing down your fears of failure? Expert communicators flexibly use the combined strengths of successful Empathizer and Instigator communicators. By doing so, you TALK2PEOPLE!


Call Talk2Me developer and trainer, Dr. Dennis O’Grady, to discuss your leadership communication workshop needs today at (937) 428-0724.