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Chapter 7. The Listening Hand > SUCCESS CARD 31: Listen with Your Eyes

SUCCESS CARD 31: Listen with Your Eyes

Any experienced cardplayer knows how much information is revealed by the slightest nonverbal nuance of the face. Any actor knows the amount of information revealed without words. Film actors, especially, are skilled in reading and reacting to body language. But there's a professional and personal place for listening to nonverbal communication as well.

“I listen to solve problems.”

The biggest change in advertising over the last few years is a result of technology and email and how people are communicating. When you're talking face to face, you can react to what's being said. With email you're left with whatever set of words is on your screen.

The positive side is that if you're dealing with the transfer of information, it's all there. But it challenges listening.

Seeing how someone speaks is important. What's the body language? Is the person committed to what he or she is saying? Advertising is a relationship business; it's opinion; it's judgment; you just can't open a textbook and find the right answer as you often can in the medical profession, for example. In advertising, it's fluid; for example, you can get ten different opinions about an approach. A typical client complaint is that the agency contact doesn't listen. We try, but we need to infer a lot. We end up second-guessing. We think, They're asking for this, but what do they really want? It's a dance. My motivation comes from the ability to sell an idea. And listening skills are key to hearing what the client is saying, reading between the lines, and coming up with ideas that are solutions to the business problem.

Mary, executive and twenty-five-year veteran in advertising



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