Mind Your Body TV Episode 8 with Brian Grossman, Ph.D.
What we have here is a failure to communicate, due to lack of better listening skills. (“Oh no, not again!”) That infamous line from the 1967 film, “Cool Hand Luke,” has echoed myriads of times, especially when men and women seemingly can’t hear each other.
So listen: Dr. Brian Grossman is a communication and relationship expert who also spent four years in prison—as a practicing psychologist. His audio curriculum to help us communicate with anyone, anywhere, any time is called: “Learning to Listen: Did You Hear What I Think I Said?” He wants you to use better listening skills and to watch how your relationships blossom.
Four types of listeners
We caught up with Dr. Brian in Beverly Hills for our video shoot. He says a good place to start listening is to first identify the four distinct types of listeners, as first recognized by his colleague, Dr. Tony Alessandra:
- director/controller: He or she likes fast-paced, bullet points. No kinda’, sorta’, but let’s get to the point and keep this thing moving.
- socializer: He wants plenty of fun and excitement and likes everybody to be a friend. Pay him a compliment, and he’ll listen to anything you have to say. Start off with criticism, and he’ll tune out.
- relater: This listener is the touchy, feely, type who enjoys a group hug. Ask him how he is, and you’ll have his undivided attention and will listen to anything you say.
- thinker/analyzer: Facts and detail are paramount for this listener, so you can’t make it up as you go. If you “blab,” he’ll get very impatient, so know your stuff.
Dr. Brian also says we men and women listen differently: Aren’t you shocked? “If you’re talking to a woman and you want her to listen, use a feeling word,” says Dr. Brian. Remember, too, that women listen to emotion, men listen for logic. “Men tend to be fixers and we want to solve the problem, while women are relationship-oriented.”
Instead of stamping our feet and accusing, it’s possible to bring the other person around to our point of view by using some tried-and-true techniques, one of which is “summarizing.”
Summarize for better listening skills
One of the best ways to prove you’re listening and establish a connection is to summarize what other person said. “If it’s important to you, and yet you’re consistently having negative interactions, make those important details high priority items in your conversation,” says Dr. Brian.
Example: “Let’s assume I’m messy and you’re a ‘neatnick.’ You say, ‘I need you to clean up,’ and I roll my eyes. It’s better if you say: ‘I need you to clean this part of the house.’ Then I respond, by summarizing, that ‘It sounds like you’d like this part cleaned up and organized.’ If you just tell me to clean up, I think you mean the entire house, and that’s just not going to happen.”
Practicing better listening skills can help your relationship (and your house) shine.
Oh, and watch our second video with Dr. Brian if you’re back in the job market–through no fault of your own.