Listening to Make a Difference

by Kassy Laborie

August 26th, 2013

Principle #7 – Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

[Read all the Principles]

How often is it that the person delivering an online event (whether it’s a sales presentation, training, or a webinar) is in a position to listen to the thoughts and comments of the attendees? Far more common is the webinar format known to us all, where the attendees passively listen (while checking email and social media and whatever else grabs their attention in the moment!) while the person speaking pours through the most recent trends and latest content to hit the internets yet.

What would happen if this online training paradigm was flipped and it was the presenter who listened to the attendees instead? What if attendees took control of their learning, and the presenter stopped talking long enough to let it happen?

Online training would start making a difference, that’s what would happen.

Rich Marsh, Dale Carnegie Live Online Trainer, shared the following story in a group “water cooler” chat recently. He couldn’t sleep after the experience, so he got up, logged onto his computer and shared this instead:

Rich’s Breakthrough

Have you met John? We have probably all met a ‘John’ in an online program. He came into my virtual program late and avoided responding to chat questions. The first time I called him by name, he didn’t reply. And then it was time for the 90-second achievement reports. When I called John, he said something like, “I’m not really in the right place today to talk about this.” I knew this was a defining moment for us both. I said “not to worry John, just tell us what you have been up to at work recently…”

John slowly began to describe how, as a relatively young person in his company; he had been promoted into a more responsible position. People resented him and were giving him a hard time. He sounded really down about it.  At the end I asked “John, did you say you have been doing this for 8 years?” He confirmed this. I told him that he did indeed have a real achievement to his credit and that a lesser man would have quit. He had much to be proud of! John perked up after that and started to participate more. I felt moved and privileged to, I hope, help John see his own strengths and realize his achievement in that difficult circumstance.

In that moment, I felt more satisfaction as a trainer than I could recall for a long time. As I lay in bed later that evening, running though it in my head, the power of what Dale Carnegie can do filled my thoughts.

So if anyone asks you “can online training make a difference?” Tell him, “Yes. It can…”

I couldn’t agree more. Perhaps all that’s needed when we’re interacting online is to take a moment to be the listeners for a change.

Kassy Laborie is the Product Design Architect for Dale Carnegie Digital, frequent speaker at training events and online training expert. 

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