Oscar Trimboli

Art of Listening- A Code to Change the World

Art of Listening- A Code to Change the World

Oscar Trimboli

Author, Professional Speaker, and Apple Award-Winning Podcast Host

Oscar Trimboli

Oscar Trimboli is an author, host of the Apple award-winning podcast Deep Listening and a sought-after keynote speaker. Along with the Deep Listening Ambassador Community, he is on a quest to create 100 million deep listeners in the workplace. Through his work with chairs, boards of directors, and executive teams, Oscar has experienced first-hand the transformational impact leaders can have when they listen beyond words.

He believes that when leadership teams focus their attention and listening, they will build organizations that create powerful legacies for the people they serve – today and more importantly, for future generations.

Oscar is a marketing and technology industry veteran working for Microsoft, PeopleSoft, Polycom, and Vodafone. He consults with organizations including American Express, AstraZeneca, Cisco, Google, HSBC, IAG, Montblanc, PwC, Salesforce, Sanofi, SAP, and Siemens.

He is the author of how to listen – discover the hidden key to better communication – the most comprehensive book about listening in the workplace, Deep Listening – Impact beyond words and Breakthroughs: How to Confront Assumptions

Oscar loves his afternoon walks with his wife, Jennie, and their dog Kilimanjaro. On the weekends, you will find him playing Lego with one or all his four grandchildren. 

Take home these learnings

1. Difference between hearing and listening
2. Why listening is a gift to humanity
3. Four villains of listening
4. Understanding how pattern matching work

Listen to the specific part


Episode Transcript:

Intro: Most of us believe we are good listeners, and yet others complain that we don’t listen to them. Dalai Lama said- “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” They say listening is an art and can heal beyond imagination. Listening is often the only thing needed to help someone. It is indeed a magnetic force. Welcome ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the podcast the xMonks drive. I am your host Gaurav Arora and our today’s guest is Oscar Trimboli. Oscar is an Author of three books including “How to listen” and an authority when it comes to listening. He is a podcast host, and a faculty at the Marketing Academy. Let’s take a dive and create deeper distinctions around listening and what it means to change the world through listening. Outro: For me it was a masterclass on listening. How was it for you? What are your takeaways. I would love to hear from you about your learnings, reflections and insights. Do rate this podcast and leave a review to help me serve you better. And I look forward to meeting you again next week with yet another interesting conversation. Till then, please take care and stay tuned ☺ 00:03 Thank you, Oscar, thank you so much for taking time out. It's such a pleasure having you on this podcast. 00:10 Looking forward to listening to your questions Gaurav, today. 00:16 I think that's what we are going to dig deeper into and I have Oscar, you know that my association with you and I've learned so much from you, not only from what you speak, what you say. But moreover, the way you listen. And I personally consider you as one of the authorities when it comes to listening. 00:36 So let's dig deeper directly into the subject that we are going to explore today. 00:43 And let's start from the very basics. 00:46 How is listening different from hearing? 00:51 Hearing is purely an auditory process, your brain is processing ambient sound, might be the sound of the air conditioning in an office, it might be the sound of the traffic in the street, it may be the sound or the keyboard tapping. This is not listening, listening requires your presence. Listening is how you make meaning of sounds. And for many of us, we’re taught to listen. And we're taught to actively listen. And this is one level of listening, where we pay attention and listen to the words through hearing. But if we use our 01:32 mind, we use our eyes, we use our heart, we use all our senses, the three dimensions to listening to content, most people only focus on the first so hear, see, sense, hearing, the first level is just noticing auditory transmission, it doesn't mean you understand it, it doesn't mean you make sense of it, it means your mind is processing, your prefrontal cortex, this part of your brain just behind your skull. As humans, we have a unique opportunity to listen. And by listening, we make sense of it for ourselves. 02:12 But later on, we will spend a lot more time talking about your role as a listener will change the way the speaker communicates, and help them to make sense of what they're thinking. So the difference between hearing and listening is the meaning we make from the conversation. Yeah, yeah. So wouldn't be a fair assumption to make Oscar, that hearing as I'm listening to you, it's more of a biological process that the sound waves are coming, touching the eardrums. And we know something is that 02:45 when we start to make meaning out of that sound, 02:49 that's a psychological process. And that's what listening is. 02:54 Because this 02:57 might create a sense of danger 03:00 in the mind, or it might create a sense of happiness, a sense of celebration for me. So depends on where I am in my life, is my understanding, correct? 03:11 That's a simple way to use a click to describe the process. Yes. 03:18 Oscar, I personally feel that we all go through different ups and downs in our life. And that's where there comes a time, that becomes a wantage point for us, where we pick up a direction for ourselves. And that becomes a defining moment. Just curious, what was your defining moment, when you declare to yourself that you would like to dig deeper into the art, the craft, the science of listening, and you would like to dig deeper into that? I mean, you have written three books around (Reduce gap) 03:52 the similar subjects, starting from breakthrough and then the first book on listening, and then the second book on listening. So what was that moment for you? 04:02 I think there's moments and again, we only make senses, when going backward. One of those moments could be the fact that I went to school with 23 nationalities and many new migrants and refugees to my country. It could be the fact that I had a very protruded jaw and had to wear wiring known as orthodontics for five years rather than two and became very good at asking questions and not drawing attention to myself by speaking. But the moment where it really came together was in the workplace in 2008. It was April and it was a budget-setting meeting between Sydney, Seattle, and Singapore. And there were 18 people on this video conference the meeting was scheduled for 90 minutes. Budget setting meetings have important meaning in a workplace because if you set the budget (Reduce gap) 04:53 pragmatically, people will be able to stretch and improve 05:00 And if you don't, you'll set them up for failure. And in some organizations that mean, people will be made redundant, or leave the organization. So these meetings for me were fairly consequential. I put a lot of effort and a lot of preparation into it. And so did everybody else, everybody respected the process we were going through. And 05:21 there was lots of debate in the first 20 minutes or lots of people 05:26 pulling forward their position, about the budget. And at the 20-minute mark into this 90-minute meeting, my vice president who was sitting across the table from me, said, “Oscar, I need to see you immediately after the meeting”. 05:43 Now, in my head, the meaning I made from that is, I'm definitely going to get fired because Tracy doesn't often speak like that. And although I was paying attention to some of the dialogue, the only calculation that was going through my head was my personal budget at home, how many weeks of salary have I got left before the money runs out? 06:08 Now, what was interesting, this meeting finished early finish, 20 minutes early finish at the 70-minute mark, and Tracy asked me to close the door. So I thought, Great, I'm getting fired, I'm getting fired in private. 06:20 And as I stepped towards her, back to the boardroom table, she said to me, “You have no idea what you did at the 20-minute mark, do you?” 06:28 And I thought, I'm getting fired. I got 8 week's salary left. I don't know why I'm getting fired. And I'm about to get told. As I sat down, Tracy said to me, “Oscar, if you could code the way you listen, you could change the world”. And in this moment of profound listening on her part, and in this moment of profound insight on my part, the only thing going through my head was Wohuu Wohuu!! I haven't been fired. And I think a lot of us when we say something, we don't realize what the other person's processing. 07:09 And the only thing I could say to Tracy in that moment was, “Tracy, you mean code or code-code”. And she says, “Oscar, we work at Microsoft code into software”. 07:20 And that's the quest that we've been on ever since that, and I say we as the deep listening Ambassador community, a group of like-minded professionals who are on a quest to create 100 million deep listeners in the world. 07:35 And so far, we've coded it into three books, we've coded it into the listening quiz, we've coded into the apple award-winning podcast, we've coded it into the practice cards, 50, practice cards, that people can pose a question to each other, or pose a question to themselves, just set them up on this journey. So I think that's the moment. And there's been a series of continual questions being posed to me, either by myself or my clients, by people whose opinion I respect, who keep saying to me, like at first, my quest was to get 10,000 listeners in the world. And a very good mentor of mine said, Come back next month at a zero, come back next month at a zero. And I think the difference between hearing and listening is action. I came back each month and I'd figured out with spreadsheets and countries and downloads and courses and webinars, how I could get from 10,000 to 100,000 to a million to 10 million, to a 100 million, and there was that tipping point between 10 million and 100 million, where I just I said, I said to Kevin, who was in Atlanta, who said even McDonald's sells more burgers than that, in a day, Oscar opened up a few more franchises that have become a lot easier. But he also said to me, he said, Oscar, if you’ll achieve it in your lifetime. It's probably not worth your effort. Be more ambitious. Now, when we get to 100 million, I don't know, we're about nine and a half a million so far. That's the journey we're on. And we're we're finding like-minded professionals all around the world who are happy to promote the idea. Yeah. Thank you, Oscar, for sharing that episode of your life. You know, I still remember in one of our conversations, where you did mention that conversation. You did mention that sentence that when Tracy said, “Oscar if you could code how to listen, you can change the world”. 09:43 And that stayed with me. 09:45 And I still remember another conversation of ours when you said that listening is a gift. (Reduce gap) 09:53 Today when you look back, 09:56 the kind of work that you're always doing. I personally believe that you believe in the power of listening. 10:03 Why do you think listening can genuinely change the world? Why is listening, a gift to humanity? 10:13 I think communication is the gift and communication, half speaking-half listening, and most people in the workplace context, please bear in mind all everything I'm going to talk about is all researched in the workplace. And for me, I know, by the first decade of somebody's career in a workplace, they'll have at least two training courses on how to speak, how to speak with influence, how to speak with power, how to speak with empathy. So they have all these muscles around how to listen. And yet the manager, they remember the most, or the teacher from school, they remember the most that really profound moment where somebody could not only hear, what you'd said but also heard your fears and your aspirations this, this is listening. And when you can help somebody notice their thinking, because the dirty secret of listening is this. If all you're doing is turning up to try and make sense of what somebody is saying for yourself, 11:17 it's about halfway there. The second hal,f the gift part of it is a great listener changes the way the speaker communicates, it changes the way the speaker processes their thinking, a great listener helps the speaker make sense of what they're thinking, because they're rarely. And when you understand the neuroscience of listening, this is why it's so crucial that if people just knew these numbers, 125 400 900, they’ll understand the gift that listening is. So in the workplace, on average, 11:52 you can think 900 words per minute, you can only speak at 125 to 150 words per minute. So the very first thing you say the likelihood that that is what you mean is about 14%. Now, if you work in environments that are collaborative, competitive, they have conflict, they're resource-constrained, you may be thinking it up to 1600 words per minute. And in that context, the first thing that comes out of your mouth is probably 5% of what you're thinking. So the gift is to give the speaker another opportunity to go back into their mind, process what they're thinking, and then say the next thing. 12:36 And you will know this, 12:39 that will change the shape of their spine, when they do this, that will change the shape of their shoulders, they will sigh, 12:48 they will breathe out and exhale and go. 12:53 Now that I think about it a little longer. 12:57 You know what's really important that I haven't discussed, actually what I meant to say was, and there are rows and rows of these beautiful code words that people will give you, but the biggest thing will change is the position and shape of their body. That will be your first clue that you know that you're helping them to listen to their thoughts and make sense and meaning of it. That's the gift, the gift is your ability to be in the presence of somebody. This is why animals can do this. So well 13:32 its to hold a presence so that the person in front of you can process not just the top level thinking the level one as Danny Kahneman would say. But it's their level two thinking it's their deeper thinking it's the it's the heart of their thinking that's very deep inside them. 13:50 So when it comes to our listening, our listening can unlock so much more potential in the other person. And the collaboration that the two of you or the group of you are going through in that moment. And it only takes 60 more seconds. 14:09 Most people won't take the time to process that extra 125 words from the speaker. And yet when you do well, the pragmatic, practical workplace gift of listening is meetings are shorter, and you have fewer meetings. 14:30 Thank you for sharing that because I think that's a gift. 14:35 And as I'm just reflecting 14:39 I can actually relate to people 14:43 who have been listening to me and every time they listen to me. Now I'm noticing it how it actually changes the shape of my spine, how it changes the way I've been holding or I hold my shoulders the way I'm breathing, and the side that you spoke about. 15:02 And I can, in all the conversations when I know that I've been heard from the lens of the deepest possible listening, it does 15:11 allow me to be a better communicator, it allows me to revisit my thinking, and revisit the way I look at myself, the way I look at the world, the way I look at others, and the way I make meaning. 15:25 You know, Oscar very interestingly, 15:28 and since we're talking about workplace listening, and you have a lot of data to support that, be it, when we are getting to a one-on-one conversation, or when we are getting into when we are when we are part of a meeting, or when we are part of a conflict, or any argument, the number of words which are coming out very different. The interesting part is Oscar every time when you speak to people, they will tell you that how good listeners they are. 15:57 Somehow, we have been trained, or we have trained ourselves to believe that we are good listeners. 16:07 How could we assist people? How could we build awareness in people, where they are able to see the difference between what it means to be a good listener? And where they are, what it means to be a great listener, and where they are. 16:25 What's your take on that? 16:28 Well, I think the first thing we have to do is show some empathy and compassion for people. It's easy to pronounce, I'm a good listener. 16:40 And yet, the first thing we're noticing is our own self-assessment bias. 16:46 The research we've done and this research is validated by research others have done in Israel in the Netherlands, in the United Kingdom and the United States and Canada, all around the world. This research is consistent. On average, 17:05 people through all these research studies, 74.9% of people will rate themselves either well, above average, or above average when it comes to their listening. So the self-assessment is absolutely, absolutely, I have no research. I’ve not done any research. But I know what you're talking about based on my 17:30 I would say primary conversations, primary research, what we call. So, I’m 200% in alignment to what you're talking about. 17:39 And this is because there's no universal framework of listening, you're taught math, you're taught a language, you're taught chemistry, chemistry has a periodic table of elements, the Periodic Table of Elements is exactly the same no matter which language you speak. 17:57 Yet, when it comes to listening, we don't have this framework. Now the opposite happens as well in this research, on average, when you ask the speaker to rate the listener, 18:08 they rate 12% of listeners 12. 18:13 Or six times less is another way to say 18:16 either well above average or above average listeners. So when it comes to listening, the value of your listening is held by the counterpart, the speaker, the group, it's not held by you. That's like saying I am a very good driver. 18:32 But everybody else on the road is signaling with their lights and their horns. And they're getting out of the way. Because you have self-assessment filters on. 18:44 So most of us aren't 18:46 taught how to listen. 18:48 Most of us don't have a universal framework for listening. And we think we're good listeners because we just do it the way we have been taught through role modeling, role modeling from our parents, from our teachers, from our workplace, colleagues, from our supervisors. This is how we learned listening. Listening is very cultural, very educationally based. And it's very much part of your family origin as well. So be careful if you're saying or wish you could teach my children how to listen. And you're already as parents, you're already teaching your children how to listen, you're role modeling, what listening is and they're just copying you. Because as we know, 19:32 our kids will do what we do, they won't necessarily do what we say. So the first barrier for most of us to listening is the fact we don't know what good listening is. 19:44 unless we've experienced it, and that's rare. It's like 2% of workplace employees have ever received any training in how to listen. Yeah. And I think if we could 20:00 genuinely listen to the other person at the heart-to-heart level. And when you were talking about listening and understanding the intention of the person watching the other person, as you mentioned, listening with our eyes and listening with our senses, I think most of the challenges, the interpersonal challenges that we come across will get damaged automatically. (Reduce gap) 20:23 I'm not sure that vanish, but at least we'll have 20:28 a civil conversation and acknowledge our differences. And acknowledge where we may agree to disagree rather than agree to ignore you. 20:41 For many of us, when we're listening, we're pattern matching. 20:47 We're trying to match to previous evidence, previous education, previous experience, a previous teaching from one of our parents, our grandparents, our uncles, our aunties. This is a very big barrier. When it comes to our listening. We've researched over 20,000 workplace listeners, and we know this four common barriers to workplace listening. 21:14 You can take the listening quiz, listening quiz.com And you can find out your own barrier. The quiz takes seven minutes most people finish it in five, that the four things that typically get in the way are. 21:27 Number one, and the most common one that people describe, but it's not actually the most common one when it comes to people's barriers is people interrupting. Now the reason people interrupt is that they're very productivity and time conscious. So they're trying to shorten the distance between what you're saying and what the outcome is. Now often, you don't have permission to interrupt often, they're just drawing breath in, they actually haven't finished what they're trying to say. But you're like the quiz show contestant on a TV show who presses the buzzer before the host has explained fully the question you answer the wrong question. And that creates friction for the relationship. But it also creates tension for you as the listener because time time time you're throwing you're consistently thinking through a lens of how do you shorten time. And this is where deep listening is paradoxical. If you just open the space up a lesson a little longer. When you're fighting that urge to interrupt, you'll start to hear what is the really systemic issue they're trying to work on not the symptomatic issue. 22:40 If you interrupt them merely solve their pain by giving them an aspirin, you're not really solving their problem, you're just giving them an aspirin. So this is interrupting. This listener is one of the primary villains the second one is lost. The lost listener doesn't understand their role in the conversation. This shows up particularly in group meetings where they're invited to a meeting, but they don't understand their role. 23:09 The speaker or the host will use language like they're very vague, they're not present it distant. If you are the lost listener, you just lacking a little bit of confidence in that environment and simply ask the host, what role would you like me to play in this meeting. 23:30 And once that's clarified, you can listen on behalf of a customer or supplier regulator or a p who is not present. 23:39 But equally the lost listener is somebody who's lost in their electronic notifications, their gadgets, they're connected, watch their handy, their iPad, their computer, whatever can be in bars, and this is amplified by people who spend a lot of time working virtually as well. A Slack channel and a WhatsApp channel and all these channels going on to seduce their attention. This is where lost shows up the most. The next villain of listening is shrewd. 24:13 Abundance you said shrewd should listening. Okay. Shrewd listening villain is a problem-solving machine. 24:23 They are listening to fix they're listening to solve. Unfortunately, they anticipate they'll go Wow. Okay, that's a really basic problem. Hurry up and say that because I can think of two other problems you haven't even thought about. Because I'm so learned. I've done a master's. I've done a Ph.D. I'm an expert in this field. Yeah, yeah yeah, in their moment because you're too busy thinking you're solving the problem that they're explaining you're not present enough to understand how they're describing it. Where is the inflection in their voice? Is it coming from here? Or is it coming from 25:00 Here, if you're busy problem solving, you make a huge assumption that you're the expert in this conversation. The other thing you make an assumption is they want something to be fixed, shrewd listening villain should ask the question, 25:17 or make this a great discussion 25:20 before the conversation even starts, because a lot of time, people just want somebody to bounce their thinking off. I don't want a solution. They just want to bounce it off. Another question that a shrewd listening villain can ask, is simply this, How long have you been thinking about this? Because quite often, the solutions that the shrewd villain comes up with is something they've already thought about, but they've never taken the time to ask. Now by the way at home, I'm lost in it at work, I'm shrewd. But before we go, there have a final listening villain is dramatic, 25:58 dramatic listening villain values, the relationship between themselves in the speaker or the group. They want to form an emotional connection to the speaker as quickly as possible. And in doing so, the speaker might use a phrase like I'm really struggling with my supervisor, they don't come to the schedule one on ones, our team meetings are a disaster, the merger is a mess. 26:25 And the dramatic listening villain will try and form a connection really quickly and jump into the spotlight 26:33 and create a little bit more drama and go well, if you think you've got a bad manager or supervisor, let me tell you about my Yeah, my supervisor will have it. And what they're trying to do is form a connection through a story. And what we know from our research is, the speaker says, “All I want to do is make themselves a center of attention”. They're not listening to my story, it's not the same as them. And then the dramatic listening villain doesn't understand the difference between sympathy and empathy. Empathy is I acknowledge how you feel, even if I haven't felt it 27:08 yet, but when they move themselves into the spotlight and move the speaker out of the spotlight, they just take center stage, and they love the drama of any conversation. So dramatic interrupting, lost, and shrewd the four primary villains of listening. And that took us two and a half years to come up with a valid data model in English-speaking workplaces around the world. And now 20,000 People have taken the quiz, and you'll get a report to explain what your primary listening feeling is as well. Yeah, thank you for sharing that. You know, Oscar, you spoke about pattern match. 27:45 Tell me more about that. How does that become a barrier? You know what my limited understanding of pattern matches when I'm listening, I'm trying to relate to where you're coming from, why you're saying what you're saying, specifically, the what part of it, I will quickly revisit my archive, or I'll revisit my library, pull out a book. Hey, this is exactly what you're saying? Is that what you're saying? Yes, this is what I've read. And they will be on the common page. How's that 28:12 A barrier in this thing? 28:15 I think there's two levels. The first level is really an important distinction to understand the difference between a good listener and a great listener, a good listener listens to the content, and tries to make sense of it for themselves as the listener. This is interesting, but not ultimately useful for the speaker, or the outcome or the agenda. 28:38 A great listener, 28:40 helps the speaker make sense of what they're thinking they don't need to understand it. And this is where people take up way too much time and why meetings go on and on and on forever. They'll say phrases like, help me understand, do you mean this? Or do you mean that? It's like, 28:59 I just need to process this outcome. If it's connected to the outcome? Yeah, maybe you need to understand the content or the context. But in the vast majority of one on one conversations, and also in meetings, where you're the host, 29:15 your role as the host is not to make sense of what they say. 29:20 Your job is to help them make sense of what they're thinking. And when we do they actually say what they mean. And then we can move on. And then we can go to outcome and then we can go to progress. Then we can go to make sure that we've got milestones and tracking on all of that. But the majority of times people are listening levels way, way, way below where the dialogue needs to be. And here's how it shows up. The point you made is very simple. There are two ways to attend to the world. Listening for similarity. listening for difference, listening for the familiar listening for contrast 30:00 Neither is correct or incorrect. Most people who have been trained in some kind of educational system are trained to pattern match. That is the purpose of the education. It is the rare educator who helps the scholar the student to understand that, if you're present to difference, if you're open to variation, you can simply understand this. 30:32 Three is half of eight, zero is half of eight, 30:37 and four is half of a. Now, if you're pattern matching, while you're listening to that, you're gonna get three is not half of eight Oscars, zero is not half of eight, yes, four is half of eight, you finally got it right. Mathematically, or is half of eight. But if you draw the figure it out on a piece of paper and tear it in half vertically, you have a three. And if you fold that exact same piece of paper in half horizontally, you have a zero. And most of us won't be open to any conversation that the answer isn't four, because our education, our evidence, our patterns have taught us that four is half of eight, whether that's on the earth or on the moon, or in Mars, whatever Galaxy you want to deal with four is half of eight, you're wrong Oscar for is half of a four is half of eight. And that is one orientation to the world that is pattern matching for similarities and listening for similarities. But if you're actually open to listen to difference, you'll explore different perspectives in a conversation. And I'll put this in the context of a team meeting. So often we'll get stuck into groupthink. We'll go yes, we all agree this is what we should do. And this is what we're doing. We're listening. All of us we're similarities are great host in that moment, or a leader doesn't have to be the host of the meeting could ask a simple question. What does this mean for our competitors? What does this mean for our regulator? What does this mean for government? What does this mean, for somebody who was operating a similar business overseas, and we're trying to create difference, get people out of their patent to go, Oh, gee, I didn't even think of the competitor in this conversation. So often, I find hosting a meeting where I've been invited into an executive team. 32:24 And they will be debating furiously. I remember one time very clearly, I was working with a group of Actuaries. Actuaries calculate insurance companies, either how long you'll live for, or the likelihood your car will have an accident or something to go wrong with your house. These are very, very, very smart people. And in this meeting, were a group of Actuaries who were setting up a price and a group of sales and marketing people who had to take that price out to the market and get the customers to buy it. And all there was, was a binary discussion. 33:00 And the discussion was the price was too high the price too low the prices and profitable all these internally orientated conversations. 33:09 So hours in my host turns to me, I'm observing this meeting. Okay, Oscar, it's about time you did something, all you've been doing is listening in the background. 33:20 And I said, 33:22 Today, I heard at least seven assumptions that have made by both sides. And until you declare your assumptions to each other, it's unlikely you're going to progress to understand where your assumptions are a want you and I pointed to a lady in the room, I said, I want you to wear the hat of the competition. 33:45 And if they were in the room right now, what would they be laughing at us about? Because we haven't even discussed it. And she's fetching more all alone, she got out five things straight away. And I went timeout Great, great. Can you just capture that up there on the whiteboard, just write those out. And then I turned to the actuaries in the room, and I said, I want you to do the same. And I pointed to a very tall man. And I said, I want you to tell me what the regulator's would say right now that they would want to understand more about this. Straightaway. 12345 he was off, I think he got 13 out. I said, Great. Go and put them on the whiteboard. And what I said to them is you haven't even debated this yet. 34:33 Please declare what your assumptions are before you debate the data. Now, they spent two hours like this banging away 34:44 because they were all pattern-matching and listening to their own similarities. In that simple question, where I took them out to competitors and regulators they started to listen for difference. The meeting finished in 15 minutes after that, because they all declare 35:00 their assumptions. And they went, Oh, my goodness, then our price should be this. Yes, we've got agreement, and something that was scheduled for six hours finished in two and a half. Because 35:13 listening on the wrong level. Now, if you had to add up all the salaries in that room, ROI would be awesome. But the ROI for the customers and the regulators was even higher because they actually exposed their assumptions. Now, many of us in a workplace have rarely do that. We rarely say, this is how I've come to this conclusion. And people get so worked up about defending a position because they're pattern-matching for similarities. Not a difference. So this is the crucial thing. Neither is correct or incorrect. Yeah, yeah. It's, it's the judgment for you to say, when a team has information, we shouldn't listen for similarities. I'm over halfway through a project, probably a good time to talk about differences. 36:02 And I think you brought a very important aspect in this conversation, when we when we asked when we spoke about, am I listening for similarities? Or am I listening for differences? You spoke about assumptions, You know, there are times and I personally believe that there are times our assumptions become the biggest hurdle 36:23 in my ability to connect with other person to listen to the other person this is like the glasses that I'm wearing. 36:30 Is there any way Oscar, I'm just curious, 36:34 that could allow 36:37 an individual to visit and revisit and revisit assumptions they are operating from, 36:45 and challenge themselves. 36:48 Because in the case of pattern match, we only tend to validate what we already know. 36:56 In that case, in every conversation, I am only solidifying 37:02 the assumption that I'm operating from 37:05 which neither is serving me nor the environment that I'm a part of. (delete Pause) 37:16 So first of all, assumptions, get a really bad rap 37:20 assumptions are men mental shortcuts, so we don't have to calculate 37:25 the value of gravity every day when we get out of bed, because that will you know, we assume that there's gravity and they assume when I put my feet out of the bed, that gravity is going to make sure I can stand up. 37:38 And there is a wide number of these assumptions, mental models, heuristics that we use every day to shortcut things. And 37:47 the skill is to be conscious of is this assumption useful for the meeting I'm participating in. 37:57 When is it unlikely to be useful? There's a couple of code words I'd love everyone to listen out for, because this is how you can notice the assumption from the speaker as well as from you, you will use words like always, never precisely, exactly. 38:18 When you start to hear these words, in English vocabulary, they are known as absolutes. 38:26 The word never, the word precisely, these are all variants of these absolutes. This is a clear signal, like you're in a shopping mall, and you come up and you're lost, and you don't know where to go, you go up to one of those big screens and says, You are here to get to where you want to go. But it's got this big arrow and the big arrow when it comes to assumptions in the shopping center, in your own mind, is these words you are here with a word always never precisely. All these words are good words for you to go oh, okay, well, if I'm using that word, or they're using that word, 39:06 help me understand how you've arrived 39:10 at this, this number outcome at this proposition. We don't spend nearly enough time talking about how to have the conversation and we jump straight into what to discuss. 39:26 I have a client in the UK She's very famous for this phrase. Now she's it's almost a giggle for her now, she starts every conversation like this, what would make this a great conversation for you? 39:38 Now, I’ve taught her to say what would make this a great conversation or stop, she's added for you. 39:47 I warn her and say look if you just say for you, they're unlikely to come back and ask you the opposite question. 39:53 What's been the impact of her asking that question? 39:58 She assures me that 40:00 All of her meetings are a minimum 30% shorter. Because we're discussing how we want to have the conversation. And by the other person, often they'll be taken aback and we go, that's a good question. Actually, what I'd like to achieve is this. Notice the word actually, which means we're getting into the level two thinking 40:20 when they use that word, 40:23 actually, 40:24 sometimes they might ask the other person, so what will make this a great meeting for you? 40:30 And sometimes they won't in the majority of cases they won't. But in this client's case, where she's doing a lot of meetings every day, she has been able to shorten them by a minimum of 30% by simply asking that question, because then the conversation is focused on that outcome. In a one-hour meeting, if you can ask every 15 minutes at the beginning of the meeting, you said this would be a great outcome. 40:56 Whatever they declared at the beginning, what will make this a great conversation for you? Often they'll say, at the 15-minute mark, or the 30-minute mark, I've got what I need. 41:06 Let's call it a meeting. 41:08 And the meeting finishes earlier. 41:11 Now what you choose to do with that time is completely up to you. 41:16 When you expose your mental models, when assumptions are known, and when you listen for differences and not merely default into similarities, all of a sudden opportunities open up because time becomes simpler. Ultimately, if you can hold so tightly, four is half of eight, zero is half of eight. And three is half of a, you can remember that from today, am I right now trying to argue for is half of eight in this conversation, when there are minimum of two other possibilities? I'm sure there are some great mathematicians out there will tell me something about infinity as well. 41:55 Yeah, you know, for sure, you're thinking, 42:00 a lot of things. In fact, you spoke about levels of listening, you also spoke to give this example of this lady, and especially 42:08 when you spoke about the three is the half of eight, zeros is the half of eight, so is the four of half of eight. And I'm just wondering in my life, where do I get into an argument with the other person from a space of four is half of eight, were not been able to look at the other perspectives. As you mentioned, in any situation, there are at least two other perspectives that we are not focused on. So what I'm, where am I pattern matching? Where am I looking for similarities? And where am I looking for differences? asked two questions here. 42:42 Before you ask those two questions, notice that you're pattern-matching right now. 42:51 And the question I want to pose to you is, is pattern matching going to be useful for the balance of our conversation? Or would you like to explore some difference? Explore some differences. Okay. Yeah. (Reduce space) 43:07 Yeah, Were you even unconscious that your pattern matching? I was not, I was not like, this is this is how ingrained it is. 43:17 Like it. So then three questions. 43:21 The first question is, you spoke about level two listening. So 43:26 theoretical question, what are the different levels of listening? And 43:32 what are they? That's the first question. Second question. 43:37 What's the connection between listening and age? 43:43 If there is any 43:45 third question 43:48 where our pattern matching, not useful 43:54 for the leader. 43:56 So these are the three different ways we can get into. I'll leave it to you. 44:03 Rather than leave it to me, the question we should be asking is, which one of those three questions would help the audience the most? And as you know, the audience better than me? Let's use the frame to explore this. Because asking me which one of those by the way, 44:21 triple-barreled question is difficult for the speaker? Yeah. So let's start with the first one. 44:31 What is the connection between age and listening? And then we'll come to the other two questions. (reduces space) 44:42 Listening doesn't necessarily improve with age, not hearing hearing declines with age as you mentioned, it's a biological process. So we struggle with releasing so we collect year of birth in our in our database, and there isn't 45:00 No material variation in the way people listen based on an age group, except for one key criteria. 45:10 That is the level of interruption, marginally declines, and interrupting or listening villain shows up less in older people, 45:20 they're much more comfortable with space, they're comfortable with pause. 45:26 Unfortunately, there's a parallel by shrewdness, because they have such a rich history of experience, they try and solve and fix. So there is no upside to being an elder and being unconscious about you're listening. And the opposite is shrewd. When you're younger, shrewd shows up less interrupting shows up a little less, because you want to show deference to your elders. In most of the cultures, the surveys are taken in. So the only thing we know that materially changes in people listening is their ability to process auditory, meaning they're hearing heavily influences, you should get a hearing exam. As often as you visit a doctor, if you visit a doctor once a year for annual health checkup, get a hearing exam, or if you get an eye test once a year, get a hearing exam, even if it is the baseline, what kind of frequencies you're able to listen to, because that will reduce over time. 46:35 So we don't become better listeners, because we're older. 46:39 We have a bigger evidence base to pattern match against and that becomes another way that holds us back when it comes to listening. 46:48 a follow-up question because you do a lot of work in the space of workplaces, right? 46:57 What according to you, based on the research that you have done the kind of work that you have done in different organizations with different teams? What have you noticed? Is the difference between(reduce space) 47:10 a great leader (reduce space) 47:14 and a manager? 47:16 Is there anything starkly different that you have been able to notice? Which 47:23 Yeah, I noticed I noticed this through a listening lens. And that's probably not the intent of your question. But that's where I'll start from, I think, I think a manager listens to what said, and a great leader listens to what's not said. They listen to those extra 125 words, they listen for that much more holistic approach. They listen more for system and less for symptom. They're listening for regulators, they're listening for customers, they're listening for competitors, they're listening for system, they're listening for process, when somebody says, most this is broken, that I'm trying to fix it, the first thing that goes through their head is what are they describing? What is that connected to? Because it might be connected to other departments, it might be connected to a website, it might be connected, there are a myriad of things that could be connected to. And this is listening to what's not said you want that person to explain a little bit more. That's all set. So quickly, I'll take you through the five levels of listening. Level one is listening to yourself, level two content, what you see is sense and hear. Level three is context. 48:38 The context is how it said, this is about listening for adjectives, verbs, pronouns, absolutes, this is about listening to the backstory, and for their backstory as well. Because a lot of us, just listen to the very first thing people say level four, what's unsaid 49:01 This is the extra 125 and the 425. Just give them one more chance to say what they think. And one more chance to say what they mean. 49:11 And then level five is listening for what's unsaid, through meaning. What is somebody making of this? 49:22 Earlier Rohn used a phrase which said, challenge myself. 49:28 And often I asked people to reflect on the language, challenge your thinking, no problem. Challenge yourself, that's a bit more fundamental. Your identity is something that people spend a lot of time so in the workplace, they might say, I need to challenge my colleague on that. What I would say is challenge a colleague on the task or the outcome, but don't challenge the colleague. You can have you can have a very neutral, non-conflict-based conversation when you're focused on the task. 50:00 And this is why when you attack somebody's identity, and what it means to them, you're unlikely to get them to move from their position. But if you work on the task or the outcome, you have a very open conversation that says three is half of eight, zero is half of 8 four is half of 8. What a beautiful thought. Yeah. Yeah. So every time when I'm challenging somebody's identity, it's a threat to his identity. It's a threat to their identity. And that's where I look for protection, instead of connection, and thus, there is no growth, there's no psychological safety out there. 50:38 That's got your thinking. That's gone pretty deep for you. Tell me more about that. 50:45 For me, that's a pause moment, because I'm just reflecting in my team, how many times do I challenge my team members, do I challenge my peers 50:58 rather than challenging the task in hand, rather than challenging the behavior, which might not support it? 51:07 And thus, unconsciously, I'm creating a psychologically unsafe place. And I'm not surprised the way they react to me. 51:18 I think this the same principles are also available, they're applicable in our families as well. 51:28 And why do you think why do people 51:31 attack the other person's identity, and what comes in their way to separate that the person is not their identity? 51:43 They're They are not conscious of it. 51:46 If you're lucky enough to be watching this on on YouTube, on the video, you will have seen a very 51:55 noticeable change in your body state. When I asked you that question, did you notice your body state changing? Yeah, for those who are listening only how would you describe the change in your body? I think the way I was sitting, I was sitting straight, the shoulders were 52:15 perpendicular to my spine. And while I started talking, while I started reflecting, I could see I shifted my chair. 52:24 My hands came closer. 52:29 They were supporting my chin, My head went down. My eyes were closed. And I was reflecting I was in deep thought process. 52:41 And there was a pause. I think, while I was breathing, there was a pause. And in my mind, I started revisiting different scenarios 52:55 where I have behaved in my life, that I should not have. 53:03 You were not conscious of 53:07 Be kind to yourself. Yeah. 53:11 You now have entered a different state of consciousness. It's what you do with it now. 53:17 No, you cannot, you cannot change what you have done. It is a gift to today for us to know that we need to make the change. And this for those watching is the power of the listener being able to shape the way the speaker can communicate what it means to them is by noticing the body. 53:39 I was able to pause 53:43 and ask, like the invitation to share. 53:48 Now even though you were thinking, the act of verbalizing 53:52 change the way you made meaning from that conversation. Yeah. And I think I will revisit from where we began when you said that. When listening is happening. It allows the person 54:06 to communicate better, to revisit 54:10 their thought process, get better clarity and make a better meaning for themselves for others for life and the world. And also (delete space) 54:22 it would be visible in the shape of the spine, it could be visible in the way I was holding my shoulder and the way I was breathing in the side that you spoke about. Oscar. Last question here. 54:37 I don't know if it's a stupid question. Certainly. 54:40 It can add some value to this conversation. 54:44 What are those scenarios where pattern match may not be helpful for either of the parties involved in the conversation? 54:55 So let's talk about where pattern matches useful and then we'll talk about where we're at. So 55:00 So pattern matching is very useful in systems that are in stable states that are predictable and routine where change is incremental 55:12 and not a state change. But if you're dealing with dynamic environments where you're looking for significant step change, multiple competitive factors, or the dynamic of the system has completely changed 55:28 a pandemic. 55:31 These patterns of thinking around how do i pattern match to the past as a heuristic doesn't become helpful to us as a group. And this is where it becomes really important in brainstorming meetings, that we never say anything is wrong in the brainstorming, we can only say how do we build on that idea rather than tear it down. So in brainstorming, if somebody puts up an idea, and somebody says, Yes, but we tried that two years ago, and it didn't work pattern matching is present in that, 56:05 as opposed to 56:08 we tried that two years ago, it wasn't a great outcome, I'd love to explain to you the contexts. So we can build on that to make it a better idea for next time. There's a very simple practical example, you know, workplace group setting where pattern matching is unproductive because the system has changed the dynamic within the system, there's high levels of collaboration required high level of competition, possibly high level of conflict, high levels of resource constraint, all of these elements are ingredient. Ah, now I should be listening for difference. Because I'm dealing with step change, I'm not dealing with incremental. 56:54 Now, this is a broad generalization, and an example of an assumption. So what I would say is, be conscious. 57:06 Around a simple question at the beginning of the meeting, if you say, what would make this a great meeting? Use that question as an anchor every 15 minutes in a one hour meeting. And at that 15 minute mark, if you're asking that question, ask yourself the next question for the next 15 minutes. Should we be diverging? 57:26 Or should we be converging? The way the group approaches this? And the answer to that question is not in the hands of the host? The answer to that question is actually in the group. And when you listen to the group, its power is exponential. When you just listen to your own idea, the power is linear. 57:52 What a practical application of what you're speaking about Oscar, thank you so much for your wisdom, for sharing your experiences. And I think the nudges is that you could scatter. 58:06 In this conversation, it helped me to revisit where I am in this conversation, get deeper in my own listening, watch what you have been talking about something very rare, you come across conversations where you see the practical application than 58:21 otherwise the conversations happened 30,000 miles above ground, and you have to revisit that conversation to pick up one nugget from them and say, How can I apply that? I think the way you assisted this conversation, both from the role of a guest and from the role of an interviewer as well. I think I'm highly indebted to you. Thank you so much for being such a wonderful 58:46 guest. Much respect. Thank you. 58:50 It's a pleasure. And just remember, these are not my ideas. These are only ideas that are coming through me at the moment. I'm just lucky enough to catch them and transmit them to everybody. Looking forward to seeing you at the conference. If you're looking forward to coming to the conference. And if not, take the listening quiz. Don't worry about getting in touch with me get in touch with your own listening, listening quiz.com and that will move you from an unconscious listener to a conscious listener. Thanks for listening Namaste.

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