Approachable Management: Say What You See

PICTURE THIS: You receive word that one of your employees might have screwed up.

Naturally, your job is to get to the bottom the situation.

So, you invite her into your office. You close the door and she takes a seat.

As you sit down, you can already identify an aura of defensiveness in the air. Maybe even a little guilt.

So. What’s your approach?

FOUR WORDS: Say what you see.

That means observe, don’t accuse.
Or else she won’t open up to you.

That means insinuate; don’t impose.
Or else she’ll feel even more defensive.

That means describe; don’t prescribe.
Or else she’ll think you’re trying to “fix” her.

Here are three hypothetical examples:

DON’T SAY: “Your third quarter sales were the lowest at our entire branch!”
DO SAY: “It looks like your third quarter sales were lower than normal.”

DON’T SAY: “Why do you come in 15 minutes late EVERY day?”
DO SAY: “I noticed on your time card that you’ve been clocking in at about 8:15 lately.”

DON’T SAY: “Way to piss off the people who pay our bills, dumbass!”
DO SAY: “I see that one of our customers gave you a pretty hostile evaluation.”

See, by objectively “saying what you see,” your words empower the employee in three ways:

1. They enable her to respond.
2. They allow her to clarify the situation.
3. They let her take ownership of the problem.

So, next time you need to approach one of your employees about a mistake they’ve made, remember to use language that is:

o Objective
o Non-judgmental
o Non-comparison based
o Emotionally unreactive
o A statement of observation
o An impartial piece of feedback
o Non-challenging to someone’s character or attitude

Say what you see.

That way, maybe your employees will help you see it better!

What’s your secret for staying objective when approaching employees?

For a list called “79 Questions Every Manager Needs to Ask,” send an email to and I’ll take care of ya!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

SEE SCOTT LIVE TOMORROW! Come to the St. Louis Business Expo and learn how to enable people to buy!

AND, get a free copy of Scott’s new book, The Approachable Salesperson!

7 Ways to Overcommunicate Anything

On a number of occasions, I’ve either heard or read the following statement:

“You can’t over communicate.”

And I’m not sure I agree with that.

Here are my reasons:

You can talk too much.
Which means you’re not listening that much.

You can listen too actively.
Which comes off as annoying and fake.

You can ask too many questions.
Which turns you into an interrogator.

You can be around too much.
Which might give someone the impression that you’re spying on her.

You can violate someone’s boundaries.
Which makes them feel uncomfortable.

You can use someone’s name too often.
Which appears unnecessary, forced and inauthentic.

You can check up on people too much.
Which demonstrates a lack of trust and unwillingness to relieve ownership.

What do YOU think?

Is it possible to overcommunicate?

If so, post your examples here! If not, share with us anyway!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

New website go live this week?

Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

68 Things Employees Never Want to Hear Their Manager Say

1. Better luck next time.
2. Can I see you for a second?
3. Close the door.
4. Conditions were different when I said that.
5. Discussion is over.
6. Don’t bother me right now.
7. Don’t bring me problems; bring me solutions.
8. Everybody’s doing it.
9. Get out!
10. Guess what I’ volunteering you for?
11. Here, you handle this problem. I’m busy.
12. Here’s what you’re doing wrong.
13. I can’t help it if it’s your day off.
14. I don’t care if it’s your day off.
15. I don’t have time for you right now.
16. I don’t want to hear it.
17. I know it’s a holiday, but…
18. I know it’s Saturday, but…
19. I know it’s your day off, but…
20. I need to have a word with you.
21. I need you to do this.
22. I never said that!
23. I’m not the problem, you are.
24. I’m right, you’re wrong.
25. I’m too busy to listen.
26. If you could go ahead and drop off those TPS reports, that would be grrrrreeeeat.
27. If you have anything to say, keep it to yourself.
28. In case a bus hits you, I want to make sure you and Karen are inter-changeable.
29. Is this YOUR bag of drugs?
30. It doesn’t matter.
31. It was political.
32. It’s not my fault; I didn’t know the law.
33. Merit didn’t have anything to do with it.
34. My mind is made up.
35. No, I don’t understand and I probably never will.
36. Nobody will know.
37. Oh, we’re finished.
38. Some you win; some you lose.
39. That’s horrible! Do it over.
40. That’s how it’s always been done.
41. That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.
42. The schedule is already made up.
43. There’s no problem.
44. Those are breaks of the game.
45. Try paying attention to what you’re doing.
46. We aren’t the problem, they are.
47. We’re replacing you with this robot…
48. We’re right, they’re wrong.
49. We’ve already tried that before.
50. What’s your name again?
51. Who the hell is responsible for this?
52. You brought this on yourself.
53. You can leave now.
54. You can’t go to church – you have to work.
55. You don’t really feel that way.
56. You got into this mess, now you get out of this mess.
57. You haven’t worked here long enough.
58. You putz; can you do ANYTHING right?
59. You should have known better.
60. You’re fired.
61. You’re not allowed to say that.
62. You’re not educated enough.
63. You’re not living up to your potential.
64. You’re not ready.
65. You’re wrong.
66. You’ve got a looooong way to go before we give you any new responsibilities.
67. Your office chair didn’t show up so you’ll be sitting on orange crates for the next two weeks.
68. You’re going to do it because I say you’re going to do it. Now move!

What’s on YOUR list of things employees never want to hear their manager say?

Share your list here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Tired of waiting for employees to come to YOU?
Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on!

Watch video lessons on how to stick yourself out there!

Growing Bigger Ears: Avoid Emotional Reactivity

“You did WHAT? Three thousand dollars? Oh my God! Are you freaking CRAZY?!”

– – –

How would you feel if someone reacted that way to YOU?

Maybe a little defensive?
Maybe a little frustrated?
Maybe a little hesitant to open up further?

Right. Of course you would. Who wouldn’t?

This is a typical example of Emotional Reactivity, and it’s a dangerous barrier to Growing Bigger Ears.

See, certain things that people say WILL emotionally activate you. And as a result, you might felt the need to defend yourself, get huffy or even get the uncontrollable urge to yell!


Stay cool, stay calm and stay open.

That’s easy for YOU to say! you think. You’re not the one whose 17 year-old son just crashed the car into the garage door! You’re not the one whose best salesperson just lost the firm’s biggest client!

Fair enough.

But I’m not suggesting you repress your anger or hide your emotions. Instead, challenge yourself to become a better listener by responding emotionally objective, not emotionally reactive.

That means you…

STRIVE TO: pause, not jump.
STRIVE FOR: dialogue, not debate.
STRIVE TO BE: curious, not judgmental.
STRIVE TO APPEAR: observant, not accusatory.

IN SHORT: Objective, not reactive.

Because if you don’t, here are the potential dangers:

Emotional Reactivity is contagious.
Which increases conversational tension.

Emotional Reactivity is disrespectful.
Which is antithetical to the entire philosophy of Growing Bigger Ears.

Emotional Reactivity undermines trust.
Which taints the effectiveness of your listening environment.

Emotional Reactivity blocks understanding.
Which actively interferes with the listening process.

Emotional Reactivity creates defensiveness.
Which decreases the likelihood of someone opening up further.

Emotional Reactivity prevents people from saying what they want to say.
Which means it takes longer to achieve a resolution.

– – –

So, now that you understand the definitions and dangers of Emotional Reactivity, next we’re going explore six practices to help you avoid it.

1. Start with yourself. Before you can effectively listen to others, you must first listen within. Know thyself. To thine own self be true. You know, all of that stuff.

Consider these three questions to pinpoint the triggers of your Emotional Reactivity:

o Where does your emotional reactivity come from?
o What personal biases get in the way of listening effectively?
o When was the last time you listened, all the way through, to an idea that made you uncomfortable?

2. Objective, not reactive. Objectivity is in short supply. So, learn to act in response to the thoughts that fuel your Emotional Reactivity.

For example, if a comment made by an employee stirs up something fierce inside you, just STOP. Consider removing yourself from the situation doing a few exercises to increase oxygen and blood flow.

You could try focused breathing, taking a break or just getting up and walking around. All of these practices will relax your mind and body, thus reducing reactivity.

CAUTION: These relaxation techniques are most effective when carried out in private, so as to reduce the likelihood of coworkers thinking you’re really, really weird.

3. Respond; don’t react. There’s a MAJOR difference between these two words philosophies. See, reactions don’t require thought. They’re knee-jerk reflexes. Responses, on the other hand, are more thought-out. They’re mindful and reflective.

So, it’s important to first recognize that you always have a choice: to either react or respond. To resist the impulse.

Here are four solid questions to ask yourself:

o Why do I feel this way?
o What kinds of things am I reactive to?
o What would be an appropriate way to respond?
o What are the emotional triggers that generate anxiety inside me that prevent me from listening well?

4. Say what you see. Use statements of observation that are non-judgmental, non-comparison based and non-YOU-oriented. Phrases That Payses include:

o “I noticed…”
o “Tell me about…”
o “I wonder if…”
o “How do you feel about…?”
o “Here’s what I observed…”

Comments like these accomplish several goals. First of all, an objective piece of feedback doesn’t challenge someone’s character or attitude. Secondly, it opens the door to discussion. Thirdly, it fosters explanation, not accusation. And lastly, it doesn’t put the other person on the spot for an immediate answer.

5. Conduct internal dialogues. During periods of silence that precede your reactions responses, pay attention to what’s happening inside you while you listen. Consult the Spirits. The Powers That Be. The Muse. The Third Ear.

Or whatever you call it.

Ask yourself NOT, “What do I want to say?” but rather, “What wants to be said next?” and “What’s the next question that wants to be asked?”

Then, wait for your Inner Voice to respond.

– – –

As you can see, Growing Bigger Ears is about a series of CHOICES.

The choice to be objective.
The choice to pause, not jump.
The choice to respond, not react.
The choice to be objective, not reactive.
The choice to conserve your emotional energy.
The choice to replace defensiveness with understanding.

What’s more, because human beings shape their identity by the way others respond to them, your actions play a significant role in the formation of someone’s self-image.

SO REMEMBER:i Objective, not reactive.

Be known as someone who welcomes the truth no matter how disturbing or difficult it might be to hear.

Listen for what the person is trying to communicate AND what they’re actually saying.

After all, it’s awfully hard to Grow Bigger Ears when your Emotional Reactivity is louder than what the other person says.

How do you remain emotionally objective?

For a list of 8 non-threatening, objective and inviting Phrases That Payses that demonstrate emotional objectivity, send an email to and I’ll hook you up!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Tired of your employees avoiding you?
Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on!

Watch video lessons on getting them to come to YOU!

Approachable Managers: Lay a Foundation of Affirmation

Because acknowledgment is a universal human need, listening is (initially) about AFFIRMATION.

Making people feel valued, validated and important.

See, human beings shape their self-image based on how they are responded to by others.

For example:

o If someone grew up hearing messages like, “I don’t wanna hear it right now!” and “Stop asking so many questions!”

…it’s likely that she would develop a reticence when approaching people in the future.

o On other hand, if comments like, “Tell me more!” and “That’s a great question!” were ingrained into someone’s mind…

…his future level of approachability would be dramatically different.

For that reason, your (potential) influence as the listener is powerful.

So, you MUST take the opportunity to lay a foundation of affirmation. That way your employees will authentically open up to you.

AND REMEMBER: Even if you don’t care FOR, approve OF or agree WITH someone’s ideas, when they approach YOU in need of a bended ear, you job is to let them know tha you heard them.

Here’s a quick list of 8 Phrases That Payses to help affirm your speaker:

1. You’re raising an important issue.
2. Great question!
3. I’m really glad you brought that up.
4. When you said (x), that triggered the following thought for me…
5. I’m SO glad you asked that question.
6. Interesting point.
7. That is one option we will need to look at.
8. I was hoping you’d ask that question!

(If you need more, you could always consult your friendly affirmation ball.)

Verbiage like this is positive, approachable and affirming. And the best part is, it advances the conversation into a mutually shared space in which people feel safe to open up to you.

And THAT enables you to learn what’s going on with your employees, uncover problems and suggest solutions.

SO REMEMBER: Growing bigger ears is (first) about laying a foundation of affirmation.

How do you affirm your employees and team members?

Share your three best Phrases That Payses here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Want your employees to open up to you?
Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on!

Watch video lessons on growing bigger ears!

How much time do you spend preparing yourself to listen?

Deep breathing.
Perusing your notes.
Reading affirmations.
Practicing your Powerpoint slide transitions.
Listening to the Rocky IV soundtrack in the bathroom down the hall.

All of these are examples of how someone might prepare herself to speak.

Which brings up an interesting question:

How much time do you spend preparing yourself to listen?

Odds are, not that much.

And this is dangerous. Because listening requires just as much energy, focus and mindfulness as speaking – if not more!

So, today we’re going to explore four practices for preparing yourself to listen.

1. Consult your materials. Gather all your notes, ideas, reports or any other documents relating to the conversation you’re about to have. Take a few minutes to scan them. Look for patterns. Get to know the person and the situation better. Jot down any specific questions, concerns or issues you’d like to raise during the interaction.

2. Listening reminders. Take a minute to re-read all of your listening reminders. This is a great way to keep your philosophies and practices fresh in your mind. NOTE: if you haven’t already created listening reminders for your office, consider writing a few of the following ideas on sticky notes to keep yourself accountable:

o L-I-S-T-E-N = S-I-L-E-N-T
o 2 ears, 1 mouth
o Attention, acknowledgment, appreciation and affirmation.
o Responses, not answers.
o Listening, not waiting to talk.
o NO Agenda.
o Don’t react; respond.
o Ask; don’t tell.
o Curious, not judgmental.
o You don’t own their problem.
o Listening isn’t a performance.

If you want to see the FULL list of listening reminders, check this out.

3. Breeeeeeathe deep. Taking in fresh oxygen will lower your blood pressure and relax your mind, body and spirit. It will also lay a foundation of mindfulness that will enable you to ask the right questions and tap into your intuition during the listening process.

A few secrets for breathing exercises (that I learned from my buddy Robert Friedman) include:

o In through your nose, out through your mouth.
o Make your exhale twice as long as your inhale.
o Consider reciting silent mantras to focus your attention.
o Close your eyes and visualize yourself Growing Bigger Ears.
o Relax your body, let go of tensions, especially in your shoulders and neck.

4. Affirmations. This last practice might sound kind of silly, but it’s also the most effective. Write out three lists of affirmations, each of which start with “I will, I choose or I am.” Be sure to keep them positive and focused on what you want and not what you DON’T want!

See, by reciting these to yourself before the other person comes into the room, you will lay a positive, forward-thinking foundation of listening effectiveness.

Here’s a quick list of potential affirmations for your list. Consider reading these to yourself before meeting with clients, patients or customers; or if you hold a leadership/management position, before walking into work every morning:

o I will listen today.
o I will say what I see.
o I will ask WHAT or HOW.
o I will take organized notes.
o I will think and pause before responding.
o I will listen at least twice as much as I talk.
o I will listen to myself as well as the other person.
o I will listen to ideas that make me uncomfortable.
o I will lead the other person where they want to go.
o I will listen to the silences between people’s words.
o I will acknowledge, appreciate, affirm and give attention to the speaker.

o I choose to monopolize the listening.
o I choose to remain emotionally objective.
o I choose to use engaging, generative language.
o I choose to give advice ONLY when asked for it.
o I choose to ask and say the things that want to be said next.
o I choose to be conversationally selfless by giving the other person the stage.
o I choose to show the other person that I trust them to develop their own answers.
o I choose to listen with my eyes, arms, hands, fingers, legs, heart, mind and soul.

o I am a giant question mark.
o I am curious and fascinated.
o I am now fully prepared to listen.
o I am making it a safe place to open up.
o I am prepared to receive the other person.
o I am making space to accept new ideas and thoughts.
o I am giving myself and the other person permission to open up and feel comfortable.
o I am a Listening Midwife who enables the other person to give birth to their thoughts, feelings and emotions.
o I am a still body of water in which the other person can see their reflection, which will lead to breakthroughs of their own making.

– – –

Admittedly, this is a lot of work. Probably more than most people are willing to put in for a soft, intangible skill like listening.

In fact, even I was hesitant to take on this practice at first.

Until recentlty.

I had two Rent Scott’s Brain consulting sessions this week. Both were great successes, inasmuch as my two clients gained clarity as well as few SOLID strategies for their businesses.

I, of course, didn’t do that much, other than listen.

Because that’s my job. And I now realize that by adopting this practice of listening preparation, I was able to facilitate and to give birth to breakthrough thinking.

It was pretty cool!

So, what about you?

How much time do you spend preparing yourself to listen?

Share your best practices for listening preparation here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

…only 4 more days until goes ON AIR!

28 Ways to Challenge People’s Assumptions

Some people are full of BS.
Some people make assumptions.
Some people are nothing but talk.
Some people speak without thinking.
Some people use invalidated, vague, baseless arguments to prove their points.

Your job is to challenge them.

To (not) blindly accept everything people say.

To spot hidden assumptions and avoid mindless acceptance.

You do this for two reasons:

1. YOU gain clarity on their motives, intentions and beliefs.
2. THEY gain an opportunity to restate, reform and rethink their ideas.

Your best tool is to use an ICY Question, which stands for, “I Challenge You.”

Here are seven examples of common situations and dialogues where you can use them:

THEM: “I never thought I’d say this, but…”
YOU: “Why did you never think you’d say that?”

THEM: “I can’t do that!”
YOU: “Why not?” or “Says who?”

THEM: “Well, they say that…”
YOU: “Who’s ‘they’?”

THEM: “So, is this your full time job?”
YOU: “Yes. Why do you ask?”

THEM: “I’ve been calling you all week and I’d really like to get together to talk about a business opportunity!”
YOU: “What is your positive motivation for wanting to meet with me?”

THEM: “I heard/read it was terrible…”
YOU: “Who’d you hear that from?” or “Where’d you read that?”

THEM: “I dunno, this seems pretty expensive?”
YOU: “Compared to what?”

– – –

BONUS! 21 (other) ICY Questions examples include, but are not limited to:

1. How did you arrive at that?
2. How do you measure that?
3. Is that always the case?
4. So?
5. What do you plan to do with this feedback?
6. What stops you?
7. What would happen if you didn’t?
8. What’s (really) bothering you?
9. What’s your point?
10. When did you decide this?
11. Why?
12. What’s your proof?
13. How do you know that’s true?
14. Where’s the evidence?
15. Are you sure that’s true?
16. Why do you believe that?
17. Can you prove it?
18. Why did I receive this email?
19. Why do you think that happened?
20. Why is that so important to you?
21. Why was I put on this list?

Ultimately, the whole reason ICY Questions work is because they break people’s patterns.

Which catches their attention.
Which causes them to stop and think.
Which causes them to clarify their remarks.
Which causes the REAL motives and beliefs to surface.
Which causes you to better understand where they’re coming from.

So, as EA Sports says, challenge everything.

Challenge irrational thoughts.
Challenge programmed knowledge.
Challenge people’s positions.

If you want to be more approachable, start by being more challenging!

How do you challenge people’s assumptions?

Share your three best ICY Questions here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

…only 8 more days until goes ON AIR!

8 Ways to Avoid Conversational Narcissism

Forget yourself and submit to the other person.

That’s the BIG challenge of listening.

To check your ego.
To relinquish you agendas.
To suspend your preoccupation.

Unfortunately, it’s dangerously easy for people to fall into the trap of Conversational Narcissism.

Especially when they’re too busy.

Too busy trying to contribute.
Too busy trying to prove themselves.
Too busy trying impose their own agenda.
Too busy trying to take ownership of someone else’s ideas.

Today we’re going to explore 8 practices to help you avoid Conversation Narcissism so you can continue to grow bigger ears!

1. Watch your intent. First, beware of listening for selfish reasons. In fact, ask yourself this: Why are you listening? Could it be…

Listening to give advice?
Listening to change people?
Listening to hear yourself talk?
Listening to control the conversation?
Listening to appear like a good listener?
Listening to find your opportunity to steal the stage take over?

Or, are you listening to understand, learn and help? The choice is yours.

2. Switch the spotlight. Give THEM the glory. REMEMBER: Listening isn’t about you. And your words need to reinforce that principle. So, try these Phrases That Payses after you’ve finished making a comment:

o “And you…?”
o “Have you had similar experiences?”
o “Is it the same in your industry?”
o “What about yourself?”
o “What’s YOUR philosophy on that?”

3. Silently check yourself. In the back of your mind (while still listening, of course), find a way to keep yourself accountable. Consider using QREATIVITY by asking silent self-assessment questions like:

o Am I granting others space to talk?
o Am I listening or controlling the conversation?
o Am I listening or trying to fix?
o Am I listening or waiting to talk?
o What questions wants to be asked next?
o Will this comment disrupt or contribute?

4. Don’t add too much value. Trust in your ability to add value AFTER (not during) the listening process. Resist the temptation to hijack the conversation by matching or one-upping people’s points, or by trying to solve the problem too quickly.

A great practice to remind you of this principle is to post listening reminders on sticky notes by your desk and phone. Examples might include:

a. Listening, not solving.
b. Don’t add (too much) value!
c. Listen, don’t fix.
d. Listeners don’t bulldoze!
e. Three seconds before responding.
f. Two ears, one mouth!

Check out the complete list of 38 Listening Reminders!

5. Open the space. Part of your role as the listener is to make room (both physically and emotionally) in the conversation. Your best practice for this principle is the strategic use of silence. This lets the other person fill in the empty spaces AND enables him to set the pace of the conversation.

The challenge, of course, is that most Conversational Narcissists don’t like silence. They talk for the sake of talking. As if silence made them look weak and indecisive.

Nope. Silence is strength. And “silence is golden” because it helps the other person articulate their most precious emotions. So, your goal is to become more comfortable with silence. Here’s why:

o The more you practice silence alone, the more comfortable you will be during silence with others.
o The more comfortable you are during silence with others, the less likely you are to feel the need to fill the space.
o The less you feel the need to fill the space, the more open the atmosphere becomes.
o The more open the atmosphere becomes, the more likely the other person is to share her authentic feelings, concerns and questions.

6. Be mindful of ownership. Don’t take over people’s problems. That’s not your job. And that’s (probably) not why they came to you. Instead, provide support so they can safely process their own thoughts and eventually formulate their own solutions. In so doing, you show the other person respect and reinforce their ability to manage their own lives. Use Phrases That Payses like:

o “What do you think is the best option?”
o “What does your gut tell you?”
o “What outcome would be optimal in this situation?”
o “What are you going to do about it?”

7. Listening is NOT a performance. Listening is about temporarily suspending your need for self-expression. So, don’t use what people say as triggers for your own jokes. Listening takes, among many things, self-control. One of my favorite rules is: Acknowledge, then shut up! SO REMEMBER: Take in; don’t take over.

8. Recognize and return. Notwithstanding the first seven suggestions on this list, it’s still nearly impossible to avoid ALL traces of conversational narcissism. So, the secret is to recognize when you feel yourself being pulled into narcissistic territory. That way you can correct it, then pass the conversation back to the other person. Consider using these Phrases That Payses:

a. “I’ve been doing most of the talking, so let me stop now and just listen.”
b. “Enough from me, what about you?”
c. “I’m sorry; I’ve been talking too much!”

Ultimately, Conversational Narcissism boils down to this simple idea:

Listening isn’t about you.

It’s about forgetting yourself and submitting to the other person.

So, check your ego. Relinquish you agendas. And suspend your preoccupation.

Start growing bigger ears today!

How do you avoid Conversational Narcissism?

Share your best practice for Growing Bigger Ears here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

…only 14 more days until goes ON AIR!

Clarify the type of conversation you’re having

One of the primary tasks of Growing Bigger Ears is to guide the conversation into focus.

To help the speaker clarify what type of conversation she wants to have with you.

You do this for three reasons:

FIRST, clarify to … open up the space.
People need to feel free and relaxed in your presence. So, by first negotiating the space between you, you make it safe to share. This builds a foundation of comfort and approachability that endures throughout the entire encounter.

SECOND, clarify to … to set expectations.
Without an initial understanding of your conversational objectives, you’ll never know whether or not you and your partner were successful. So, think of this practice as sort of a mini-goal for creating a harmonious climate.

THIRD, clarify to … establish boundaries.
Listening is a process of suspending your own agenda in the service of the speaker. So, when you know what your respective roles are – and what areas are off limits – you prevent yourself AND the speaker from wasting emotional energy.

OK! Now that you understand the value of clarifying, let’s explore five questions you can pose to help the speaker guide the conversation into focus:

1. What needs to happen during this conversation for you to feel that it was successful?
2. What type of conversation do you want this to become?
3. Do you want me to suggest ideas or just listen?
4. Is this a dialogue or a discussion?
5. How would you like me to listen to you?

CAUTION: be sure to pause for at least three seconds after every question AND answer. Let the pearl sink.

REMEMBER: when you clarify the conversation by asking future-focused, positive questions, you not only open up the space, set expectations and establish boundaries; but you also demonstrate your willingness to move forward together.

And that’s what approachability is all about.

When you’re The Listener, what questions do you ask yourself?

Share your best two questions here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

…only 21 more days until goes ON AIR!

15 ways to become (intentionally) dumber

It’s OK to be dumb once in a while.

After all, the word dumb means, “Unable to speak or ignorant.”

So, it doesn’t mean you’re stupid.

It just means you’re willing to admit that you don’t know everything.

LESSON LEARNED: Smart people dare to be dumb.

It’s more human.
It’s more relatable.
It’s more approachable.

Now, that doesn’t mean you need to be dumb ALL the time!

Just enough to keep yourself accountable, and to keep other people comfortable.

Here are 15 Phrases That Payses to help you sound dumber TODAY:

1. Here’s a dumb question…
2. I don’t know what that means.
3. I need to write that down so I can look it up later!
4. I never knew that!
5. I never thought of it that way!
6. I don’t know. (My favorite!)
7. Is that bad?
8. Is that good?
9. Wait, I don’t understand…
11. What does that word mean?
12. Tell me what you mean by…
13. Help me understand…
14. Tell me that again, I didn’t follow.
15. I’ve never heard that before…

THE SECRET IS: being approachable is about NOT being a know-it-all.

It’s about being constantly curious.
It’s about being an asker, not a teller.
It’s about being open to lifelong learning.
It’s about being confident enough to be humble.

Not to mention, when you’re willing to become (intentionally) dumber, that gives other people permission to do the same.

And clients LOVE to have someone they can feel dumb in front of.

SO, I DARE YOU: be dumber today.

My, that’s a lovely accent you’ve got … New Jersey?

Are you willing to be dumb?

Share your best example of how being dumb paid off!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Coaching, schmoaching.

No systems. No formulas. Just someone who (actually) listens, asks KILLER questions and facilitates creative breakthroughs.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

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