FYE 49 | Listening Skills


Hearing is one thing, but listening is what creates better communication. Communication is not a linear process, so it requires a better understanding of each other. In today’s episode, Transformational Thought Leader Marcia Martin offers her insights on developing your listening skills to leverage yourself in the conversation and channel better communication. Learning that skill helps us become active rather than reactive, making us connect better with others and influence and inspire. But how can you do this? Tune in as Marsha and Michelle discuss key insights on being generous with your listening and communicating. Hit that play button now for more golden nuggets from this conversation!

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The Power Of Leveraging Your Listening Skills To Communication With Marcia Martin

All of my readers, you’re in for a huge treat because we have the one and only Marcia Martin. She was called Marcia Marcia Marcia pretty much her entire life. She never saw The Brady Bunch because she never knew what people were referring to. Marcia is a successful CEO, entrepreneur, global speaker, corporate executive coach, trainer, transformational thought leader and change maker extraordinaire. Marcia Martin’s reputation is legendary, but there’s more.

Marsha has personally trained over 350,000 people globally in communication and leadership skills. Our White House and politics could sure use her leadership skills. As a coach, she trained thousands of corporate teams to perform at a championship level. Every company that I get ready to sell could use Marcia for sure. Marcia’s leadership programs and workshops teach participants to access and harness their power and excel at the art of influential communication.

What we’re going to do in this episode is dive into communication. If we could fix communication in the world, we would have no problems. Also, understand the secrets of successful relationships. I’m sure a lot of my readers would like to have better relationships. Marcia’s clients include Hard Rock Hotels. I think everybody has stayed at Hard Rock Hotels at some point in their life. Also, Warner Bros., Daman, McCain Foods, Evian Water, InterContinental Hotels, the Hyatt hotels, Loews Hotels, American Cancer Society, Chase Bank and many more.

She told me that she managed Tony Robbins for two years. I said, “Why didn’t you include that in your bio? That’s impressive to me.” She said, “I forgot.” As an impassioned entrepreneur, she has personally built several global businesses from inception to millions. It would take a day if I continued her bio. Welcome to the show, Marcia. I’m going to let her tell you more about who she is, how she get started and what she was like as a little girl. There’s a lot to unpack there.

I’ve been in this work since I was a teenager. I’ve been working with leaders my whole life. I graduated in Communication and Business Development. I went to the University of Washington and the University of San Francisco, where I got my Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Development. I started in the early ‘70s with 5 other people, an organization called est, which became Landmark Forum and was Senior Vice President for ten years. We took that personal and transformational education company to a place where we had millions of graduates. We started with 1 workshop with 20 people. I’ve seen an organization in terms of how it grows and what you need to do to take it to sustainability.


FYE 49 | Listening Skills


Since then, I’ve been well-known from that time because I have touched thousands of people’s lives. Many leaders came to me to ask me to do the same thing for their companies. Tony Robbins was one of those people. I’ve worked with several thought leaders and organizations, both corporations and entrepreneurial, to teach them how to be an organization that can be champions. Not just mediocre or improvement but work through to break through performance. I work with their people in terms of their communication, leadership skills and how they speak. One of my sweet spots is I take people who are afraid to speak in front of groups and make charismatic public speakers out of them.

I’m sure my readers have children and they’re like, “I have a sixteen-year-old and she or he does nothing.” Tell us about what motivated you. What were you like as a little girl? How did you get into this at sixteen?

My parents were pretty much on the move. My father was a lost soul, so we moved from town to town and state to state. When I was a young girl, I had to learn fast how to get into the particular grade I was in, meet people, be effective and make friends. It had to happen very quickly because I knew we would be out of there in a short time. I went to probably 3 or 4 schools a year until I was a sophomore in high school. Part of my ability from when I was a small girl was that I learned to make an impact quickly, make connections and what worked. I was always the most popular. I was committed. My home life was very scary and my father was an alcoholic, so I had to take care of the kids. It wasn’t the best situation.

You had to take care of your siblings, which was how many?

My mother married three times. In the 1st marriage, I had 4 brothers and sisters. In each of the other marriages, the men had three.

Was it only you and then you had stepbrothers and sisters?

No. There were five of us. What happened was I excelled in school and was committed to my extracurricular activities because my home was a scary place to be. I got very competitive. I knew with my parent’s economical situation that I was going to have to earn a scholarship, so I had to excel in my schooling. I’ve always been that person from the time that I’ve been small. Since I was the oldest, I was the leader of the bunch.

I learned how to give instructions and have people follow me. It became one of those things. By the time I was in my early twenties, I had an aunt who was a clairvoyant healer. She was very amazing, especially at that time because a lot of people didn’t know about metaphysics, the science of mind, how the universe works, energy, chakras, meditation and things like that.

That was my foundation. I learned to meditate by the time I was in my early teens. I learned how to heal, keep my body in good shape and think in a great way. I learned all about philosophy because I interned with her and she had me study all the great philosophers, the world and religion. She wanted me to know how people think, what people believe in and how to connect with all kinds of human beings.

By the time I was in my early twenties, I was already pretty prepared to do what I did next. When I met Werner Erhard, who was the Founder of est, which became Landmark Forum, he realized my skillset in connecting and enrolling people and my selling and persuasive skills. He took me on as the Senior Vice President. There were only 5 of us at the time and 20 people in our 1st workshop. By the time I left 10 years later, I had 5,000 people working for me in my Communication Registration Division and there were millions of graduates worldwide.

What was the specific workshop about? Was that about leadership and communication?

It’s about how you think. Landmark Forum is a study in communication, communication arts, the technology of the mind and how you can cause action, connect with other people and create championship results. That was my fundamental teaching from the time that I was a young woman. I had so much skill. By the time, I practiced it for so long, I could teach others how to do the same thing. A lot of corporate executives and people came to my workshops or asked me to come into their companies, consult them and train their teams on how you connect, align and collaborate.

A lot of times, when you go into a corporation, there are a lot of silos. Everybody’s pointing at everybody else saying, “It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t my job. They did it. He did it. She did it.” There’s a lot of blame, nonresponsibility and upset. The skills that I have that I did understand were how one experience is, be in the present time, connect, communicate, inspire, affect others, impact and be influential. That’s been my work my whole life.

That hasn’t been your only work your entire life because you’ve also been an entrepreneur and founded many different businesses. We didn’t have the time to get into your entire bio, but why don’t we talk about that quickly before we jump into communication? You founded a global jewelry company in Singapore and all over the world. Are you a founder of any businesses that you have going on?

Tsuru, Inc was a fashion jewelry company that was cofounded by Laurel Burch, me and one other person. We marketed to wholesale jewelry companies, boutiques, museums, Bloomingdale’s, department stores and the Smithsonian. We had 3,500 wholesale accounts and offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. It was a product that was different for me, but the work itself was the same. All companies need the skills that I bring to an organization no matter what their product, but that was my favorite product for sure. It was fun to do.

Do you still do consulting and own companies?

I still do consulting. That’s my work. I’m working with Hard Rock International and training their senior executives in their hotels worldwide. I work with digital marketing companies in Canada. I have my digital products, which I’m creating so that others can get this information. Not have to have me come live but can get it on online courses.

Some of these digital social media companies like Facebook or anything needs somebody like you. If they have an issue, a concern or a complaint, there’s nobody to go to. Hopefully, they’re reading. I know you focus on sales, public speaking and communication. You and I decided to talk about communication because I feel like communication comes first. If you’re not an effective communicator, you’re not going to be an effective leader, be great at sales and you’re going to have difficult children and spouse. Let’s dive into communication because it’s what makes the world go round.

I feel that if we have better communication in politics and around the world with our leaders, there would be fewer issues, wars and conflicts. Certainly, in business, there’s so much conflict due to a lack of communication. At the personal level, it is the same. When you and I talked a little bit, you said, “There are communication rules. I’m like, “There are rules to everything. We just don’t know the rules.” A lot of times, we’re trying to play these games and we don’t understand the rules. That’s why so many people who failed at communication are not as successful as they could be. Let’s jump into that and talk about how we can get you to be the president of the United States.

First of all, it’s more than rules. It’s what I call laws. There are ways things work. Most people, if you listen to them speak, they’ll say something like, “It shouldn’t be that way. It should be like this. Why isn’t it that way?” We spent a lot of our time wasted talking about things that aren’t even there rather than looking, learning and being cognizant and aware of how it does work. Not the way it should work or it shouldn’t, but how does it? We are happy to understand that in certain things. I was talking to you about gravity. Gravity is interesting because we all know the law of gravity. We learned that law when we were very young.

We fall all the time. Why is it that when we get older, we fall too?

We fall down, but at least we know that we don’t want to fall from twenty stories. We only put ourselves in situations where we can fall.

You notice as babies, you fall all the time. When people start getting in their 70s and 80s, they start falling all the time. It’s the Law of Gravity.

Here’s the thing. We organize ourselves around gravity. We don’t fight with gravity. We don’t say, “Screw gravity,” and then decide to go out the tenth-floor window because it’s too much trouble to go down in the elevator. We organize our life around the law that we know will operate and win. When it comes to other kinds of laws that are real but not so apparent in terms of our face, we start thinking, “We don’t need to do that or that.”

Communication is one of those things because there are laws. For example, communication doesn’t take place unless you’re present and the person you’re communicating with is present. Think of all the situations where you are talking, saying words, giving instructions and the other person isn’t listening, isn’t present or you’re not present. It’s whether you’ve got your mind on something. Mothers are cooking while their kid is saying, “Mom.” They’ll say, “I’ll get to you later.” You’re in a meeting in a company. How many people are on their phones texting when somebody’s speaking in the meeting about an issue for the company? We’re not present.

Communication doesn't take place unless you're present and the person you're communicating with is present. Click To Tweet

Even at conferences and in my office. My employees will walk through the door and start talking. They’re like, “I’m in the middle of an email or a business text message.” I’m like, “No. You have to get my attention first. You start talking. Let me finish my task at hand and then you’ll have my undivided attention.”

Both the speaker and the listener have to be present. It’s not just one or the other. Part of communication is not just getting ourselves here in the present, but how do we get the person that we want to communicate with here? If you understand that it’s a law, no communication happens. You can have a talk, words and facial expressions, but communication is where I recreate and duplicate the experience that you’re sending to me. I connect with it and get it. I’m able to respond to that.

That can’t happen unless you’re present and the other person is present, but how many people take the time to get somebody present? Say you have a sales presentation and it’s 40 minutes or 30 minutes. You go in and the person says to you, “Everything changed and I only have fifteen minutes.” I’ll tell you what the person will do. They’ll start talking faster because they need to get that presentation into fifteen minutes when what they need to do is get the person present.

If the person is saying to you, “I don’t have time. I’ve only got fifteen minutes,” they’re already distracted and not there. It would be better if you got them present to the point where you could say, “I want to change this meeting.” Get them involved with what you have that you’re going to present later. That would be more effective than if you tried to squeeze your presentation into the fifteen minutes that you have without either of you being present. It is a law.

It’s difficult. In the company, we get a lot of moving parts, people and interruptions. When my husband calls, it developed traffic. He wants his developed traffic scheduled. He doesn’t want you walking in with an interruption. He always says, “Lack of planning on your behalf doesn’t create an emergency on his.”

I feel the same way. My clients complain about this all the time like, “Michelle, I tell them over and over again what to do and they’re not doing it. They keep doing the same bad habit or they’re not listening.” How do you go back, correct that and say okay, especially in a business environment where things are moving at light speed? How do you do that? It’s one thing to get them to be present. Do you knock them over the head with the baseball bat? What do we do?

You learn two ways. You have a mind and you learn through understanding things. That’s how your mind learns. You take in information. Somebody can tell you something and you understand it. You read a book and you understand it. That’s one way of learning. Another way of learning, which also has to happen is through your body. Your body learns differently than your mind. Your body learns through practice.

For example, if you want to play the piano, you probably should understand a few things about music and notes. Your understanding is what you’re teaching your mind, but you have to sit at the piano, play it and practice it because how the body learns is through practice. You can’t just sit down and start playing Chopin. You have to start with Chopsticks, make mistakes and do it over and over. To learn anything, including listening, you have to practice.

Most of us haven’t learned those skills. We learn math. How do we learn math? We learn first by understanding it and then doing math problems, but we don’t learn to listen. Nobody gave us exercises in listening when we were in school. They just said, “Shut up.” That’s not what listening is. Listening isn’t, “I hear what you say.” Listening is, “I duplicate your experience.” There’s more to it than that. I have to have space.

Here we come into the second law. The first law is you have to be president. In the second law, there has to be space in which things can exist, which includes communication. If you want someone to get your communication, there has to be space within themselves for them to create the space to hear what you sent. You have to learn how to create space as somebody else and that means listening. It’s like if you had two glasses of water and they’re both filled up to the top and then you said to someone, “I want to put this glass of water inside this one.”

FYE 49 | Listening Skills

Listening Skills: If you want someone to get your communication, there has to be space within themselves for them to create the space to hear what you sent.


You start to fill it up and somebody says, “Stop. It’s full. It won’t fit.” You know enough about glasses of water to know, “If they want to put that water in the other glass, they better empty it first to create the space so you can put something in.” That’s how communication works. You have within you and every human being does all sorts of things that fill up your space. Regrets, resentments. worries, fear, a to-do list, things you wish you hadn’t done, things you want to do, considerations about things, emotions, all of those things are rolling around within you. You know what it feels like to be filled up.

I always say, “You have to close a cycle.” It’s like your computer. If a computer has so many programs, apps and documents opened, it’s going to start running slowly and sluggishly. Pretty soon, it’s going to shut down so you got to reboot. The same thing holds true with people if they got so many cycles open. That’s why I talk about closing the cycles. Close one cycle at a time. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

It’s like when Gary Keller wrote the book The ONE Thing. Focus on that one thing, get that one thing done and then move on. Otherwise, people are sluggish, but you’re right. It’s like if they’re going to college, getting their Master’s, get any type of personal issues, maybe they don’t understand the task or afraid to say so, all kinds of things but it’s difficult for business owners and employees to grasp, “Are you hearing me? Do you get the task? Are you clear on the task? Are we going to do the task correctly?” That’s the hardest thing when it comes to leaders, owners, entrepreneurs and employees, also in the home with your children.

You know that they don’t hear you and they don’t do it right most of the time. What we do is we try to fill them up because then we say, “You should have done that.” We give them more stuff and fill them up rather than realizing to create space and complete a cycle. Completing cycles creates space because when we complete a cycle, that cycle disappears, so you have space. If you have only half done, it’s still hanging out in there.

Another way to create space for others is to listen in such a way that you’re generously listening and duplicating. You’re not sitting there thinking about what you’re going to say next while they’re talking. If you were to listen generously, duplicate someone, recreate their experience and be with what they’re saying, instead of with what you want to say back, you have to be in the present time and be with them connected. You can’t be off in your head thinking about what you’re going to do. You have to have enough space within you that you can receive what they’re saying.

If you were to listen generously, duplicate someone, and recreate their experience, be with what they're saying instead of with what you want to say back. Click To Tweet

The same law goes for you. You can’t put something into their space if they don’t have it. You can’t take something out of their space if you don’t have space to put it. You have to learn two good skillsets, how to create space for others and how to create space for yourself. For yourself, you have a very good technique. Complete cycles will help. There’s another thing that helps, which is meditation, contemplation, reflection or being still, but most people don’t want to be still. They’re always doing something. They’re busy thinking, never stopping, and clearing out some of that stuff.

Meditation can do that. It can get you to a place where you have more space to receive. If you have more space to receive, you can start practicing listening so that you’re creating space for someone else. Here’s the problem. Most of us listen to see if they’re right or wrong or if we agree or disagree. We don’t listen to duplicate what’s so or recreate what they’re sending. We take what they’re sending and say, “It’s right. It’s wrong. I agree with that. I don’t agree with that.” We want to immediately put back our point of view to tell them why they’re wrong, which fills up the space again.

It’s like you’re pouring the water out, receiving it and all of a sudden, you say, “No, that’s wrong,” and you put it back in. One has to get to a place where they’re able to be still and quiet enough to listen past where it’s comfortable. There are mostly interruptions. That’s what’s happening. It’s like I’ll say something and then you’ll interrupt me. Not you, Michelle, but the human beings out there. That’s how we communicate, pushing stuff back and forth.

We never get it, sit with it and allow it to be the way it is. We think it should be different. “You shouldn’t be angry or sad. Stop.” It’s not like, “I get it. You’re angry.” Get it. Do not put something back about how to fix it, why it shouldn’t be or anything else to get it until the person gives it to you and doesn’t have it anymore. That does the same thing as what you’re talking about completing a cycle creates some space.

How do you do that? It sounds easy. We’re in a busy environment. I’m sure you got some great answers here because you are working with Hard Rock, which is an extremely busy environment. Pretty much every company you’ve represented is pretty busy. Tony Robbins is busy all over the place. Most entrepreneurs are so focused on putting out fires, dealing with the task at hand and trying to manage, lead and get employees to follow through on instructions and tasks, listen and do it. How does an entrepreneur do that when they have so many balls in the air they’re juggling? Employees probably have balls that they’re juggling. They’re worried about home, car or school. How do you do it so quickly?

It doesn’t happen quickly. It’s what’s so. Just because it is the way it is doesn’t make it a problem. If entrepreneurs get stuck thinking, “I have to do everything fast,” they don’t realize that the way things work is you have to develop someone to have a capacity or a skillset. Once they’re developed, then you’re leveraged. If you don’t develop them and you keep throwing things at them, then what you have is burnout.

FYE 49 | Listening Skills

Listening Skills: Entrepreneurs get stuck thinking they have to do everything fast and don’t realize that the way things work is to develop someone to have a capacity or skill set. Once they’re developed, then you’re leveraged.


Do you have programs for employees to learn how to create space? It goes both ways.

I do. When I go into an organization, I ask all the managers to come together for three days and we do what I call the ABCs. People haven’t had the ABCs of how their mind, emotions, body and communication work, how the action happens, how something is created and how you produce a result. All of those things are pretty important to know.

It’s like reading. You didn’t start reading by going and getting a book by Ernest Hemingway. You started by learning the alphabet ABCs. Pretty soon, you had this exciting time when you said, “CAT spells cat. It’s a word.” Pretty soon, you can make sentences and paragraphs. You then could read an Ernest Hemingway book. It started with the ABCs. That’s what I bring to organizations. Everybody thinks they’re so expert skilled. They’re working, pushing things through and making people do things quickly. That’s jumping out of the tenth floor. I’m telling you, there is gravity.

I always say it takes 30 to 60 days to start a new habit. What’s the timeframe to learn this method so people can communicate more effectively?

I start with a three-day retreat. You need to bring someone or have some continual program. I have continued programs that come in, at the minimum, every quarter. You also have individual coaching as well. It takes a period of about two years to get to a place where a person is able to cause something intentionally, develop somebody else, give assignments to somebody and have the person know what you mean when you say what you’re saying. They operate differently. They see and listen differently. The world shows up for them differently. They have a different mindset and then things go fast.

They have a lot of voices in their head. We haven’t even talked about that. Is communication your biggest focus in some of these large corporations? You do sales communication and public speaking. I think it’s communication because that seems to be the biggest struggle in most corporations.

If you have a bowl, the bowl is communication. If you have the fruit and bowl, the fruit is public speaking, selling, influencing and leading.

Do you work on communication with clients too? Another big issue in businesses is the breakdown in communication between the entrepreneur, the clients, the salespeople and even the deliverables team in a company. Those communications break down through all of those pieces. I assume you work on the client piece as well.

I work with the person who has the client, but I don’t go in and train the client. If the client wants to hire me, then I work with that person.

We talked about the first two steps. Number one is you have to be present. Number two is you have to create space. I got it. I’ve been listening. I’ve created some space for this episode. It’s a great space. What’s the third thing?

First of all, you have to understand that it doesn’t go 1, 2, 3 and 4 linearly. It’s not a linear process. It’s all of these things. It’s like a pizza.

When I ask you how many laws, you’re like, “Michelle, there are so many laws.” I’m like, “Let’s cover the top three.”

There are so many ways that things work that you have to take into consideration. Another thing that’s happening at the same time is you have emotions. People get upset. Another thing that happens at the same time is people don’t know that you got what they said. You have to learn to acknowledge in a way that works so that people have an indication that you got what they said. Another thing that is going on at the same time is people have different gradients. In other words, a degree of slope is the gradient.

I’m from Aspen. When you first started skiing, you went to the bunny hill. You didn’t go directly up to the black-diamond runs because the gradient you were at was a lesser degree of a slope than the people who had been skiing for a while. That’s the same with people with their emotions, ability to confront and see things and ability to listen to something. Take feedback. You have to teach your executives how to receive and give feedback. Not just positive feedback but negative feedback because people aren’t doing the job correctly.

People have different gradients on how they can receive feedback because they take it personally. You teach them how to not take it personally. There’s all of this stuff going on. That’s why I say to people, “Give me three days first and I can put it all together. When you come out of those three days, you are a different person. You see, listen, respond and choose differently. You have different opportunities. Different things show up for you. You attract things and take advantage of things differently.”

It’s the ABC. Somebody should have taught this thing to them a long time ago because it’s how to spell. You can’t read without knowing the ABCs. You can’t communicate if you don’t know the basics of how your mind and emotions work and what upsets you. How do you handle that and why? How do you speak in a way that somebody will listen? How do you inspire and influence? It’s a lot of stuff, Michelle.

FYE 49 | Listening Skills

Listening Skills: If you don’t know the basics of how your mind and emotions work, then how do you speak in a way that somebody will listen? How do you inspire? How do you influence?


It’s not in any order. We’ve got you got to be present, create space and have emotions in check.

Here’s how people experience it. They act as if what they experience is something outside of themselves, makes them do something, feel something or act like something. If you listen to people’s language, they’ll say, “So-and-so made me angry and sad.” That’s not what happens. Events are happening outside of you. You, as a human being, have the capacity to be centered or not. Centered is you’re open, present and connected. When you’re open, present and connected, you don’t get knocked off. When you get knocked off center, you’re upset, angry and sad. You can’t make a choice of how to respond if you’re off-center. You have to get centered before you act.

Let’s say you get a phone call and it’s somebody upset. It doesn’t go the way you want it. You find yourself all crazy and triggered. The first thing you do is make another phone call. You’re already crazy and then you’re crazy on the next phone call. You’re reactive. A basic mantra is if you get knocked off center and things will knock you off, get centered before you take any action, speak, press send, put the mail in the mailbox or yell at your kids. Get centered first.

What happens in that space where you’re centered is there’s a small space where you have the ability to choose, “How am I going to respond?” The event doesn’t make you respond. You always respond as a choice. That’s what human beings do, but most human beings don’t know that about themselves. They think they’re the victim of the universe and circumstances. If somebody’s yelling at them, then that makes them sad. They start acting out all of this behavior that doesn’t provide any support for themselves.

You always respond as a choice. Human beings do that, but most don't know that about themselves. They think they're the victim of the universe and circumstances. Click To Tweet

A way first is for you to understand why that’s happening. Why that happens is it’s not that an event makes you anything. It’s that an event reminds you of something that happened in the past. The reason that you keep that reminder around is that your mind categorizes events and keeps the formula of what you did at that time to survive held close. It’s like default. It’s like you’re a little program. You’re a computer and go on automatic default. What happens is an event happens, it triggers an old event. All old events happen between the time you’re born and ten. You don’t need to have any other events to remind you what to do.

What’s even worse is from the time you are born until around 8, 9 or 10, you’re in theta brainwave, which is the same brainwave you go into when you’re hypnotized. Not only did you have all these events happen that get triggered, but they happened at such a deep level that you don’t even notice why you’re saying what you’re saying. You know you’re attacking all of a sudden or you’re being angry when it’s just an automatic formula that goes into play default for you to react when that happens.

If we screw up our kids, I always say, “I’ll ring the bell,” but can you go back and try to fix the damage?

I wouldn’t look at it as damage. I would look at it that there’s a special thing about human beings. There are a lot of species out there that communicate, but not all species have a language. Human beings have language. That means you swim in a pool of assumptions and interpretations. Results aren’t so much a function of what you say. It’s a function of what’s heard. Everybody has their filters that you have to get through their way of listening, interpreting and assuming what it is that you’re saying and what it means to them. It’s hard to communicate.

That’s why communication is the number one issue in the world.

It’s ABCs.

I always tell everybody, “Never make decisions based on emotions.” You have to get centered. If you want to write a nasty email, write out the nasty email but don’t push send. Many of us are reactive. We need to go from reactive to responding.

Responsive is when you’re choosing. When you’re choosing, you’re reacting. If something triggers you, you’re off center and you can’t choose, you will react automatically the way you did before if it’s succeeded and makes you survive. Here you are. Whatever you did, your mind thinks, “That’s what we need to do because we survived.” If what you did was an attack, get upset, feel lonely, sad, not held right, abandoned, fearful or ferocious, whatever your thing was when that happened, if you think that’s happening again, you’re going to put it on default and act it out.

Let’s say you were raised in an abusive family and you yell because you said, “I’m not putting up with this thing,” then that’s going to be your reactor. If you were in an alcoholic family, abusive family or whatever it was and you retracted and got emotional but kept to yourself and kept it all in, that’s how you’re going to react when you’re triggered.

That’s a huge light bulb moment there for a lot of people. That’s what we say with my partners. When I decide to partner with business owners, I want to do a baggage check and see how many emotional rocks they have in a suitcase. I always say, “You’ll never grow the business beyond what you can grow the owner.”

It’s accurate what you’re saying. I have found that it takes about three days of these little moments where people go, “Oh,” to turn them into a different mindset where they see differently.

It’s not three days and dawn. It’s three days and continue practicing.

It’s a lifelong journey, as it always has been.

That’s for anything you do, whether it’s exercise or eating healthy. It’s a lifestyle. I’m fascinated by this conversation. We would have you all multiple times because next time we’re going to talk about sales.

I love selling

Me too, so we’re going to have you back on. Any last words, golden nuggets or words of wisdom? I know you have lots and that’s a silly question. Any last-minute thoughts, maybe some tips or advice that you can give so our readers can start that road to communicating better with their families, employees or clients or employees can start communicating better with their employers? It goes both ways.

I would say three things. First of all, center first before you act. Have something that you do to get you on center, whether it’s taking a breath, walking around the block or saying to the person, “I’m off center. I need a little time.” Take a break and get yourself back to being present, open and connected before you continue the conversation.

The second thing I would say is to learn to listen generously. You can teach yourself to do this by playing a trick on your mind. What you do is pretend whomever you’re listening to is brilliant and whatever they’re saying is possible. Keep saying to yourself, “This person is brilliant and is saying something possible.” Most of us listen as if that person is a jerk, they’re wrong or dumb. You have to get into it because what you do with generous listening is you’re creating a space for that person to empty. They will only be able to empty as big as the space is.

Learn to listen generously. Click To Tweet

The third thing is to listen longer than you think you should. Don’t talk. Just say, “Okay, I got it. Fine. Good. Thank you. I hear you. I see.” Keep saying things that keep them talking and have them talk longer than you would think that they should before you put in your stuff. Sometimes it’s wise to listen one day and not respond until the next day.

How long should one listen?

If you don’t say anything, they’ll keep talking because people are very uncomfortable in silence. If you say, “Okay. Good. Fine. I got it. Thank you,” they keep getting that you’re listening, so they’ll keep talking. If they stop, you can find out if they’re talked long enough by saying, “What else?” If they keep talking, you haven’t listened long enough but let them empty out.

For us busy entrepreneurs, we almost have to schedule time for that. If you try to have that conversation in the middle of the day and you’re about to get ready for a show, a book sign, talk to a client, go on a Zoom meeting or speak, you’re not going to be listening intently. You’re going to be rushing the conversation. I always say, “Schedule chaos.” Schedule that.

In addition to that, notice that it’s a dance. The dance is to create space and then put something in. If you create some space by listening, listen as long as you can and a little past what you think, not forever but listen a little longer than you normally do before you jump in. You’ve got some space there for that person, so then you can put something in but then notice that there are spaces filled up again, so listen again and do that dance but do the listening part a little longer than you normally would.

People want to be heard a lot of times if you hear them out. It goes back to trigger in their childhood. I have one client that I work with and he goes off on a rampage. He yells and throws things at all of his employees. I started realizing that the reason for that after I started doing probing is he’s severely neglected at home, wasn’t listened to and respected and everybody left him.

What I realized is he was testing people. “How loyal are they going to be? How much can I throw at them to make sure that they’re going to stay and be low on me?” That’s his trigger when he feels like somebody is about to leave because everybody else left. He was constantly badgering to say, “Are you going to be loyal to me, stick around and put whatever I give you?”

When I partner with business owners, I’m very careful and cautious. You’re not just partnering with them. You’re partnering with all their baggage and their family. It is so important to do that and listen, which is hard for people to do, but people want to be heard. Where I was going with this is that once they’re heard, they feel like they’re listened to. That could be a trigger. Maybe nobody listened to them in their childhood and then they feel, “I’m good. My needs are being met. I’m not angry anymore. That was stupid, what I was upset about. I just wanted to be heard.”

That’s why I say to listen a little longer than you normally would because you’ll be surprised what comes out.

FYE 49 | Listening Skills

Listening Skills: Just listen a little longer than you normally would because you’ll be surprised what comes out.


Entrepreneurs are reading this going, “I don’t have time to eat lunch or do this and that.” That’s why it’s important to schedule that time if you feel like you need to bring somebody in to listen and work out some issues that you feel are rising or have already occurred. If you’re not good at it, hire somebody to do this. Get a good human resource person, a good leader or a good COO in there that has that capability and understands the laws.

What I say to entrepreneurs that say they don’t have time is maybe they don’t now, but the only way they’re going to create more time is to develop people to be stronger. The only way they’re going to develop people to be stronger is to develop them.

It might not be the entrepreneurs that develop them. They might be bringing you in to develop them. It might be choosing a COO, a general manager, a leader, a human resource or an individual. It is like you teach and train. I still think the owner needs to learn those skills because what happens if you lose that person?

There’s so much to talk about. One of the things we might talk about in the future is how to have an effective meeting. Most meetings that people have are full of information and information doesn’t cause action, get things done or solve problems. One needs to know what they’re doing in the meeting and most people don’t. That’s another topic you and I could talk about.

Who likes or loves for Marcia to come back maybe every month? Comment. Let’s create space for other people to respond. There’s so much wisdom you have. Many golden nuggets are dropping. It’s the bowl and the bowl is communication. Everything stems from communication. Marcia, we’re coming to the end here. Any last words of wisdom? How can our audience find you, reach out to you or join some of your workshops?

Go to MarciaMartinClub.com. Email me at MarciaMartin.com. If you’re interested in finding out about my programs, bring me into your organization or have me as a coach.

Marcia, thank you so much for being on. You are a true Brady Bunch. Thanks to our audience. If you love this episode as much as I did, then please share it with your friends, family, colleagues, employees, mentors or anyone inside your sphere of influence. Make sure you subscribe to the show. We can’t wait to have Marcia back on again.

Thank you so much, Michelle. God bless.

Thank you. That was a pleasure.


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