Do you really listen to those around you? Family, friends, employers, employees, clients, acquaintances, bartenders, would you say you actually know how to and can really listen to them? I’d say that theoretically, a lot of us know how to. Everyone who had a few college classes talking about active listening, please raise your hand now! But I think we phase out our knowledge, the very same way as we tune out commercials, product placements in movies, people we’re not interested in, things that bother us. And I also believe we sometimes overlook and downright forget the benefits of opening our mind and souls to those around us by listening.

It took reading a great book, Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Dr. Mark Goulston – to remember the benefits of listening, the techniques and the investment it takes to make it all work. I know what some of you would say! All shrinks think they know how to listen and help you, but what does it have to do with business? I for one know for sure you can pretty much find valid business advice almost anywhere, so a psychiatrist that gets hired by businesses to get them to work better sounds like a sweet deal to me.

Just Listen has got it all, explanations, how it all works scenarios, tips, tricks and you can take it all, learn it and apply it in both your business and your personal life. Reading the book will make you a more effective listener, that meaning you’d also be a more effective communicator, problem solver and basically you’ll lead a happier life. As an added benefit, it will also help you rid yourself of all the toxic people in your life.

What most captured me while reading this book was the wide range of applicability in business: sales, negotiations, motivating employees, getting through to unresponsive clients, getting audiences on your side, getting noticed by powerful people or by the trend setters in your field, it all can be eased into by listening first and then knowing what and when to say it. Because you see, knowing how to listen is one thing, knowing what response would be best at a certain time, that’s something else and mixing the two skills can be a little tricky.

Dr. Goulston is great at explaining why things happen in a certain way in a language that’s easy to relate to for those of us lacking proper medical training (and who weren’t listening during a few anatomy lessons). While the book is divided in a way that allows you to skip to the  juicy recipes and overlook the explanatory part, I advise you to go through all of it. It will make up for a complete, wonderful experience.

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