The ONE WORD that makes you sound like a good listener

“Honey, I got fired this afternoon.”

“Boss, I lost the Gregory Account today…”

“Dude, I’m thinking about moving to Pamplona!”

“Yes, um, your airline recently lost both of my bags!”


It’s a great word. A beautiful word.
It’s a complete sentence. A wonderful sentence.

And, it’s an effective way to show someone you’re listening.

For LOTS of reasons…

First, here’s what WOW is:

WOW … is a neutral term.
Because it doesn’t agree or disagree.

WOW … is a versatile term.
Because your inflection and body language shift its meaning.

WOW … is an empathetic term.
Because it exudes concern.

WOW … is a non-judgmental term.
Because it doesn’t accuse or condescend.

WOW … is an emotionally nonreactive term.
Because it’s more of a statement of observation.

That’s what WOW is.

Secondly, here’s what WOW does:

WOW … avoids over actively listening to someone.
Instead, it simply acknowledges someone’s statement and then shuts up.
And this passes the ball back into the their court.

WOW … offers an immediate answer, thus laying a foundation of affirmation.
Which makes people feel valued, validated and important.
And this is the objective of growing bigger ears.

WOW … buys you some time, until you can define your official response.
Which will come later, after you’ve heard the whole story.
And this prevents Foot In Mouth Disease.

WOW … helps you maintain composure when presented with unexpected, difficult or crucial information.
Which reduces your emotional reactivity.
And this grounds you in a non-defensive posture.

WOW … creates space in the conversation, which grants the speaker permission to continue.
Which enables healthy and honest communication to openly flow.
And this moves you both closer to a connection and a solution.

That’s what WOW does.

And it’s only one word.

It’s only one sentence.

And yet, it’s still a powerful practice for growing bigger ears!

What words make someone sound like a good listener?

Share your Phrases That Payses here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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