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Chapter 7. The Listening Hand > SUCCESS CARD 29: Listen to Language

SUCCESS CARD 29: Listen to Language

If you've just made a move to a new project, job, or volunteer team, you'll find that experienced people are usually willing to talk. They're not always willing to talk about the positive things, however, and often you'll meet the most jaded, unhappy people on your first day. Listen openly, without making quick judgments. You'll be able to pick up cues to the type of culture surrounding you by listening to how things are described. People unknowingly give you cues to how they're used to operating by everything they do and say. If you listen, the cues aren't difficult to find.

“I knew I was on a real team.”

I came from radio—a whole different world from the corporate world. I never had a “get up, take the train to work, carry a brief case” job—ever. Not only was the content new but also the whole culture could not have been more different from a radio gig. In the real world, people stay at work from 8:30 to 5:30 or later. In a radio shift, you do about four hours with about an hour of prep time. Also, in my previous life on the radio, it was very independent and people were held accountable as individuals; at my current job, we really are a team. We don't just give lip service to that. For example, on the first day of training, one of the senior consultants came in to help us learn a new module. I was impressed when she said, “ I know I'm supposed to do this at 12:15, but I have to make a phone call. Do you mind if I come back at 12: 25?” I was struck by how team-oriented the people were—right from the beginning.

Catherine, former radio celebrity, now a consultant for a business communication consulting firm



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