Terry Gross Does it Well
One of my favorite radio shows is Fresh Air
on National Public Radio (NPR). I realize I'm delving into geek territory here by admitting my love of NPR but Fresh Air
is one of the smartest and most entertaining shows I've ever heard. And in my opinion, the success of the show is due to the outstanding interview style of Terry Gross, the show's host. As it describes on the NPR website, Fresh Air
has "empathy, warmth, genuine curiosity, and sharp intelligence." When NPR received the 1994 Peabody Award, Fresh Air
was mentioned as a show that offers "probing questions, revelatory interviews, and unusual insights."
I think Terry Gross is the best interviewer in broadcasting. She clearly understands how to Do it Well. And the reason for her success is that she does her homework and is completely focused on her guests. She reads about them, she listens to them, and she asks great questions of them.
When it comes to your communication style or your approach to work, how often do you listen? And how often do you ask great questions?
I'm a speaker and a writer. I put information out into the world through the spoken and written word. My strength is in giving, not receiving. And I don't mean that in the it's-better-to-give-than-receive way. I mean that I tend to talk rather than listen. It's a character flaw that gets reinforced every time I get a paycheck for a speech. But I would be a much better speaker if I just listened more. Which, I suspect, applies to most of us.
Terry Gross listens more than she talks. We can learn a lot about communication from her technique.
On May 1 2012, my new book, Do it Well. Make it Fun.
will be released (buy it, buy it, buy it). There is a chapter on communication and in it, I explain that successful communication boils down to two simple techniques: empathy and clarity. In order to communicate effectively with others, we must first understand where the other person is coming from (empathy), and then, we must share our ideas with clarity so there is no misunderstanding. It's important to realize that the clarity of our message, however, is dependent on our knowing the other person's perspective so that we deliver it in a way that he/she can receive it.
Terry Gross is the epitome of clarity and understanding. Her questions uncover the relevant issues while drawing out the personality of her guests. Since she has done so much pre-work, she understands her guests and is able to craft questions that make them feel comfortable enough to share the information freely. Very rarely does her technique fail. And when it does, it's usually because the guest is unwilling to deal with the truth of the answers she is seeking.
When you interact with others, or for that matter when you approach a new project, take time to understand the person or the task before you begin. Then, you'll have a better idea of how to approach the person or the task with more clarity.
Empathy and clarity. It's like a breath of Fresh Air!
Coming Soon - Ron's New Book!
On May 1 2012, Ron's third book will be released. You can pre-order them at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or on Ron's website. Below are the links.
- Barnes & Noble
I recommend the following resources for your library or electronic reader:
by Stephen King. One of the best King novels I've ever read.
by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, of 37signals, creators of Basecamp. A great book on looking at business differently.
Lend Me Your Ears
by William Safire. A collection of the greatest speeches ever given and three that never were.
Just Plain Funny
Here's some funny-ness from my friend Mark Mayfield
A bath mat is a little rug that wet children like to stand next to.
How much wrapping paper is in a roll? Four inches less than what you need.
The government will start requiring new food labeling that is more specific. It will now be "no fat", "low fat", and "fat, but a great personality".
The Harry Potter
movies have now made over a billion dollars. Maybe now he can afford to have laser eye surgery.
A man in Colorado dropped an engagement ring down a sewer drain while proposing to his girlfriend. Up until then, his romantic proposal atop a sewer was going really well.
Check out Mark's website for more funny: Mark Mayfield
Holstee Has a Mission Statement We Should All Use
(Reprinted from Ron's Blog) In the February 2012 edition of Inc. Magazine, I read an article about clothing company Holstee’s unique mission statement. Co-founder Fabian Pfortmüller said that they realized that their business was not only about the product or service they deliver but at the end of the day, it was also about the lifestyle they created. As a result, their mission statement reads more like a personal life mission than a business development plan.
I’m not a great businessman. Don’t get me wrong, I love having my own business. But for me, I value the independence and flexibility that comes with solo entrepreneurship than the prospect of building a million dollar enterprise. In fact, about one quarter of my time is spent in volunteer service because I believe in the value of service. My volunteer work does not generate revenue in dollars but it certainly generates satisfaction revenue and that’s part of the lifestyle bonus that I get by owning my own business.
Holstee’s mission statement is so congruent with my own perspective on business and life, I ordered a copy suitable for framing. It’s compelling and I recommend you not only read it, but that you seriously consider how the message applies to your own life and work. If you’d like to get your own copy, suitable for framing, go here: Holstee Manifesto
I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.
- George Burns