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How Good Are Your Listening Skills?

Eilidh Milnes

"Listen 'o listen?" is my clan motto. Yes my McArthur ancestors would have come hurtling down hillsides, brandishing their claymores, screeching this cry at the top of their voices! Now my approach is far less menacing :) however the motto is apt for someone who works in the communications business don't you think? 

Listening is a hugely underrated skill. More here. I recall my brother-in-law, Ronnie Murchison sharing this great advice, "You have two ears and one mouth. Used in that proportion, you'll do well in life!"

Talking of listening, last week Kyle reminded me of this great Ted Talk by Ernesto Sirolli, "Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!" It makes compelling viewing. 

 Three Things x Two

Ernesto Sirolli states,"There is a secret to work with entrepreneurs. 

  1. First, you have to offer them confidentiality. Otherwise they don't come and talk to you.
  2. Then you have to offer them absolute, dedicated, passionate service to them.
  3. And then you have to tell them the truth about entrepreneurship.
The smallest company, the biggest company, has to be capable of doing three things beautifully:
  1. The product that you want to sell has to be fantastic.
  2. You have to have fantastic marketing.
  3. And you have to have tremendous financial management.

Guess what? We've never met a single human being in the world who can make it, sell it and look after the money. It doesn't exist. This person has never been born. We've done the research, and we have looked at the 100 iconic companies of the world — Carnegie, Westinghouse, Edison, Ford, all the new companies, Google, Yahoo. There's only one thing that all the successful companies in the world have in common, only one: None were started by one person!

Now we teach entrepreneurship to 16-year-olds in Northumberland, and we start the class by giving them the first two pages of Richard Branson's autobiography, and the task of the 16-year-olds is to underline, in the first two pages of Richard Branson's autobiography how many times Richard uses the word  "I" and how many times he uses the word "We." Never the word  "I," and the word "We" 32 times. He wasn't alone when he started. Nobody started a company alone. No one. 

So we can create the community where we have facilitators who come from a small business background sitting in cafes, in bars, and your dedicated buddies who will do to you, what somebody did for this gentleman who talks about this epic, somebody who will say to you, "What do you need? What can you do? Can you make it? Okay, can you sell it? Can you look after the money?" "Oh, no, I cannot do this.""Would you like me to find you somebody?"

Activating Communities

Sirolli also talks about activating communities. In my opinion, such collaboration is a key aspect of that is striking up successful strategic alliances and working more co-operatively. Put simply it is better when you work together. Click the image to tune in to the new CCG Podcast Series. In this recording, I have the pleasure of interviewing my good friend and mediation lawyer, Jane Gunn. Simply Click here for the full transcription.


That's it for this edition. Want to read more? Then check out what's new on The Confidence Blog. 

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