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Listen...Can you Hear Me?

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Mike Cohen
Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Aug 26, 2009 at 2:02:56 am

Listening vs Hearing.

You can hear someone's voice, but to comprehend, you must LISTEN - actively pay attention to what they are saying.

If you get the words, you have the facts. But did you get the Meaning?

Listening vs hearing comes into play in business dealings, as well as creative meetings.

In either case, remind yourself to listen. Let's say a client is describing what they want for a project. We creative types may be tempted to chime in and say "yes, that's cool but what about this!" Hey, nothing wrong with being excited about a project.

But when you interrupt, you can miss the Meaning. Let the client talk - for hours if that's what they want to do. Take notes, ask questions, but let them get their mind emptied. Chances are, they've been thinking about this project for a while.

Sometimes the meaning is hidden. You need to listen to the words and then figure out the hidden meaning. "I want a DVD to give out at meetings. It should show X, Y and Z."

You say "We can do that. Sounds great."

Or you can listen some more. Find out where they are coming from. What their business or marketing goals are, and maybe you can see how this DVD idea fits into their overall strategy, or even what the ulterior motive is behind giving out the video. Getting vs retaining customers.

In other words, try to Understand not only what your customer wants, but Why they want it. If you can show them that you Get what they are doing, get Excited about it and help them Achieve their goals, then you too can go from merely Getting a customer, to Retaining one.

Just a little business/creative philosophy for your inspiration.

Mike Cohen


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Steve Kownacki
Re: Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Aug 26, 2009 at 12:26:51 pm

Great post. I once literally got scorned by a national sales manager at a TV station because I didn't talk. I was brought in because their in-house team was busy. Client was outlining all the details of what they were and what they wanted - local guys kept on suggesting this and that, basically making asses of themselves. I listened for almost 45 minutes then that sales guy turned around and said "you don't talk much!" I politely responded that it wasn't my turn yet. That's what sealed the deal with the client! We turned what the TV guys thought was another $800 spot into a 3-spot campaign for 10x that amount.

Steve



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grinner hester
Re: Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Aug 26, 2009 at 1:59:07 pm

In short... be married and be good at it before starting your own bidness.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Aug 26, 2009 at 3:37:17 pm

For me, there's sometimes a wide difference between what a client says they want and what they really NEED.

If you only ever deliver exactly what they ask for, but never more, or better, you don't do well long-term. Partly because they really often don't know what exactly they want. You have to tease out the information during a needs analysis. There have been times when I've told a client he really didn't need me, he needed a different kind of media to do the job in the best way. They always thanked me for my honesty and counsel, and came back to me when they later DID need a video project done, because they knew I was about solving their communications peroblem in the best possible way, not just cashing their check regardless of the effectiveness of the product generated.

So listening actively, and asking LOTS of follow-up questions, gets you a much better lock on what they are asking for, but didn't have the ability to express. Otherwise you get these reults:

"It's just what we asked for... but not what we wanted."

Ron talked about this a little in a recent thread, that they come to us because we are the experts, or at least more expert than they. While you always want to please the cutomer and give them what they want, sometimes there is much more to it than just executing what they say. You have to do this dance very diplomatically, so as not to insult them, but to get the real scoop, and to get them to understand you are more than just a fleshy remote control. You are a communications consultant and you are solving a communication problem.


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grinner hester
Re: Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Aug 26, 2009 at 6:00:10 pm

Good point. When asked if I can do a page turn, I usually giggle like I thought they were kidding.
But this I learned from being married. lol



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Aug 26, 2009 at 6:03:44 pm

[grinner hester] "When asked if I can do a page turn, I usually giggle like I thought they were kidding.
But this I learned from being married. lol"


So Grin, when you wife asks, "does this dress make me look fat?," how do you respond???


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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grinner hester
Re: Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Aug 26, 2009 at 7:19:43 pm

I explain that dresses don't make chicks look fat... fat does.




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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Aug 26, 2009 at 7:27:35 pm

[grinner hester] "I explain that dresses don't make chicks look fat... fat does."

That reminds me of the one where a guy I once heard, said: Guns don't kill people, I do.

But my favorite twisted humor of all time is my oft-used and never goes out of fashion..."If you build a man a fire, he'll be warm for a night. But if you set him on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life."

Ew, but I love your Paean to Bravery, Grinner.

Ron


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Jeremias Nussbaum
Re: Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Sep 4, 2009 at 1:41:10 pm

You just made my day with "the fire" joke. Is there a thread somewhere about the most important "tool" of every business? How a good sense of humor gets you through almost anything?

jeremias@miasmedia.com


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Tim Wilson
Re: Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Sep 4, 2009 at 2:16:41 pm

[Jeremias Nussbaum] "You just made my day with "the fire" joke. Is there a thread somewhere about the most important "tool" of every business? How a good sense of humor gets you through almost anything?"

A perfect thread for you to start! Even if only this very post. We value good questions as much as good answers!

Thanks,
Tim


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Aug 26, 2009 at 7:29:36 pm

[grinner hester] "I explain that dresses don't make chicks look fat... fat does."

Bzzzzzzz!!! Wrong answer!

The only proper response to that question is no response. Walk, don't run, into the next room and simply pretend you never heard the question. Any other response has nothing but a 100% chance of being wrong and will surely undermine any possibility of a happy evening.

BTW, this has been scientifically tested all over the world, and found to be fact in all places and in all cultures.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Aug 26, 2009 at 7:35:47 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "Any other response has nothing but a 100% chance of being wrong and will surely undermine any possibility of a happy evening. BTW, this has been scientifically tested all over the world, and found to be fact in all places and in all cultures."

A proven COW Leader.

Now where is that danged PayPal tip jar?

;)

Ron


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Chris Blair
Re: Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Aug 27, 2009 at 2:38:59 am

My number one complaint about employees, clients, vendors etc. is that they don't really listen. I'm continually amazed by what people "hear" in meetings and informal discussions.

I take a lot of notes in meetings, and with some clients have even videotaped large gatherings where lots of high-ranking people are involved.

I also type up a 1 page (or one computer screen length) summary of what was discussed after meetings and ask the client or vendor if this is what he/she heard. They'll usually say "yes" or correct a few points and we'll move on.

What's incredible is to compare what I "hear" in these meeting with other secondary people in the room. It will often be 180 degrees different. And sometimes, people "fill in the blanks" and "create" topics and/or answers that were NEVER discussed. The first few times this happened I assumed I just missed that piece of important info...until I started asking others in the meeting, "do you remember that being discussed or decided?" And repeatedly getting a puzzled "no" in response.

So listening and "hearing" is important, but I think it's equally important to follow up with concise, point by point summaries to keep things on track. Because many people appear to listen and hear what's being said, but their interpretation of that information can be completely different than yours.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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grinner hester
Re: Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Aug 27, 2009 at 3:06:44 pm

wow.
I always stayed in the edit suit during the company meetings. lol
I guess I'm not a good listener afterall because after 10 minutes of detailed babble a week before a session, I hear "wednesday, 8am."
That's all I need to know.




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Tim Wilson
Re: Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Aug 27, 2009 at 4:11:18 pm

Or get good at it as many places as you can as PRACTICE for getting married. Practice makes good enough.


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grinner hester
Re: Listen...Can you Hear Me?
on Aug 27, 2009 at 8:42:36 pm

It can backfire. Nancy now knows my shenanigans well enough to leverage em to her favor. Next thing I know she's sportin' a new car in my name all like "dude we totally talked about this and you dug the idea."
doah!
She sure looks awesome in that dress...
and the car.





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