Just Listen

Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone

 Just Listen

Author: Mark Goulston
Pub Date: September 2009
Print Edition: $24.95
Print ISBN: 9780814414033
Page Count: 256
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814414040

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Just Listen

Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone

“…an impressive bag of tricks…a guide that is as entertaining as it is useful.”

—Publishers Weekly

“…Goulston provides brilliant yet doable techniques for getting through to others… This book transcends the self-help category by promoting real communication.”

—Library Journal (starred review)

It’s a universal source of frustration, experienced by everyone in business, from senior executives to frontline service providers, and everyone who’s in a relationship. We all know what it’s like to need to get through to someone, to try everything—logic, flattery, forcefulness, pleading, screaming—only to keep hitting a brick wall.

Over his career as an organizational consultant, relationship counselor, and hostage-negotiation trainer, Mark Goulston has found what works, consistently, to reach all kinds of people in any type of situation. He discovered that the counter-intuitive step of listening is the real key to getting through. As he explains, his methods succeed because they create traction, rather than resistance. “That is,” as Dr. Goulston simply puts it, “they pull people toward me, even if those people are trying to pull away.”

In JUST LISTEN: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone (AMACOM 2009), Dr. Goulston shares his trusted collection of communication techniques and the secret to their incredible effectiveness. In an engaging, conversational style, Dr. Goulston sums up the science of how the brain goes from “no” to “yes.” As he makes clear, the way to achieve “buy in” from anybody who’s feeling angry, defiant, or threatened is to talk directly to his or her “upper brain”—the part that separates rational human beings from the emotional thinking of mammals and the fight-or-flight processes of reptiles. Backed by clinical findings and real-life experiences, Dr. Goulston reveals how to overcome a person’s resistance (even when it’s fueled by outrage) by understanding and responding to his or her hunger for approval. As Dr. Goulston demonstrates through a wide range of workplace and relationship-related scenarios, mirroring what others are feeling naturally works wonders to break down their mental barriers and open the way to winning their attention, trust, cooperation, and loyalty.

JUST LISTEN lays out nine basic rules and twelve quick techniques that anyone can use to move tough-to-reach people through what Dr. Goulston calls the “Persuasion Cycle”—from resistance to listening, from listening to considering, and gradually all the way to not only “doing,” but “glad they did” and “continuing to do.” By following Dr. Goulston’s prescriptions, readers will soon master the critical communication skills and gain the savvy to:

• Understand the situation they’ve found themselves in and how to respond quickly to take control

• Get their own emotions under control—even when greatly provoked!—and within mere minutes, rewire their brain to listen.

• Make people “feel felt”—even when taking issue with what the other is feeling—so you can get to each other instead of trying to get the better of each other.

• Engage a person by being sincerely interested (as opposed to just acting interested) in what someone else has to say.

• Turn dreaded complainers and obstructers into allies by making them feel important.

• Stop saying “just calm down” and help people exhale, emotionally and mentally.

• Be willing to bare your own neck…and know when someone needs an empathy jolt—and deliver it.

• Move a person to be willing to do what you want by transforming an impersonal relationship into a personal one

• Make sincere and meaningful amends with a Power Apology…and much more.

In the final section, Dr. Goulston illustrates how to combine several potent techniques to tackle common but hard-to-handle situations, including how to establish credibility with strangers, how to get a team from hell to work together, and how to handle a narcissistic client. Packed with memorable anecdotes, usable insights, and specific action steps, JUST LISTEN is a welcome guide for not only for anyone who’s struggling to get through to someone, but for everyone whose career, health, and happiness depend on getting along with others.

Besides declaring Mark Goulston “a genius at reaching other people,” Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back, attests in his Foreword: “He’s brilliant, funny, kind, and inspiring, and his stories about everyone from unwelcome holiday guests to F. Lee Bailey make his words as entertaining as they are life-changing. So enjoy—and then use your powerful new skillset to turn the ‘impossible’ and ‘unreachable’ people in your life into allies, devoted customers, loyal colleagues, and lifetime friends.”


Mark Goulston is a psychiatrist, business consultant, executive coach, and a hostage-negotiation trainer for the FBI. A best-selling author whose books include Get Out of Your Own Way and Get Out of Your Own Way at Work, he writes an Internet column on leadership for Fast Company as well as a syndicated column, “Solve Anything with Dr. Mark,” for Tribune Media Services. Frequently called upon to share his expertise with the media, he has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Newsweek, Time, and Reuters; has offered commentary on NPR, CNN, and Fox News; and has appeared on “Oprah” and “The TODAY Show.” He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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