Do You Hear Me? Do You Care?

Do You Hear Me? Do You Care?

In 1982, Dale Bozzio, of the band Missing Persons asked us incessantly if we were listening to her. She wanted to know if we cared about what she was saying; whether we were engaged in what she had to say, and whether her words resonated with us.

Her lyrics ring especially true in today’s world.


Our days are filled with digital distractions. Between our phones and our computers, we’re continually preoccupied by notifications, text messages and emails.

Articles, TED Talks and books talk about the importance of presence and listening, and teach us how to practice effective and active listening, yet, we struggle to be present.

Far too often, our screens take over and divide our attention making it seem as if we’re listening to the person in front of us, when really, we’re much more interested in the shiny object that’s on our screens or the people walking outside of the fishbowl conference room.

It’s frustrating and discouraging for the person on the other side of the conversation trying to make a point and be heard. The disconnect leaves an emptiness in the dialog and a failure to accomplish the intention of having a discussion surrounding an important topic or event.

Listen & Engage

People generally talk about the art of conversation and how it’s lost in today’s world. However, I think it goes deeper than that.

Every good conversation starts with good listening. Anonymous

While we’re competing with the digital conversations that happen persistently throughout the day, we’re disengaged from the art of active listening – the art that makes us self-aware of our responses during a discussion with someone in the same room and our level of engagement within that conversation.

The art of active listening demonstrates presence on a large scale. It shows emotion, it provides feedback, and it defers any judgment you may have until you fully understand what the speaker is saying. You give your undivided presence to allow them to speak uninterrupted and you genuinely care about what they are saying. You engage by asking questions to further learn about their perspective for having the conversation and you summarize their statements throughout the conversation.

Become a Better Communicator

Developing the technics of an active listener takes purpose and concentrations. Self-awareness of the need to develop as a better communicator leads to the development of these techniques.

Give Your Undivided Attention

Put your phone down, close your laptop and make eye contact with the speaker. Show that you are truly engaged and paying attention. Have the conversation in a neutral location that is free of the division of a desk or table.

Ask Questions

Ask questions to learn about the other person and their drive to have the conversation with you. Demonstrate your genuine interest in them and learn about their perspective. Ask clarifying questions to gain a deeper understanding of the conversation

Provide Feedback

Understand what is being said and reflect on the conversation as a whole. Make a point to summarize the speaker’s points and provide honest and appropriate feedback respectfully.

Make your superpower that of a true listener. As a leader, you’ll be trusted, as a colleague, respected. Be that person who gives their attention generously and is present in the moment and the conversation.

The Curse of Knowledge

The Curse of Knowledge

Communication is the conduit that leads to influence, regardless of the medium. I believe that corporate communications are the quiet contributors to an organization; the silent sales people, the workhorses of the business that drive action, and the necessary informants that fosters innovation.

Far too often; however, dedicated communication is viewed as an afterthought – a distraction – an unnecessary evil that takes away from the driving goal of productivity.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Bridging the Gap

Communication bridges the gap between the curse of knowledge and the lack of knowledge. Those with the curse of knowledge understand the driving force moving forward; they understand the direction, the roadmap, and the path as it was defined, outlined and reviewed over an excruciating, long amount of time.

Those with the lack of knowledge are disconnected. They are left to their own devices to figure things out. They are unsure of any plan and whether the path moving forward even includes them.

Those with the lack of knowledge use guesswork to pacify themselves – they play the telephone game hoping to talk to someone who knows the plan moving forward – they are fearful of the affects of any changes ahead – they resort to listening to rumors and office musings, and accept the worst without knowing the truth.

The curse of knowledge leads to an assumption mindset that everyone knows what you’re thinking, that everyone is onboard, regardless of whether the information has been shared.

When those with the curse of knowledge take the time to communicate thoughtfully and inform those with the lack of knowledge, something magical happens – collaboration.


Communication cultivates cohesiveness, community and an overall sense of value that the importance of the information includes everyone.

Open communication, authentic communication informs everyone of the path – defines the objectives – sets the expectations and gives everyone a stake in the plan.

Once you take a step back and have genuine conversations that resonate and engage with those internal stakeholders, it deepens the level of conversation and organically develops partnerships that lead to amazing innovation and experimentation.

Share your ideas with your teams – make communication a priority and watch the engagement evolve.

Love Your Client

Love Your Client

Traditionally, emotional intelligence is discussed in terms of leadership – leading with empathy, authenticity, understanding the needs of your direct reports. However, I believe emotional intelligence should be employed when building client relationships in an effort to engender long-term connections and stronger ties associated with our client’s needs.

In the words of Jay Abraham, “You must fall in love with your clients.” While it is a figurative statement, my interpretation of this quote is to empathize with my client’s stress – to deeply understand the gravity for which they are feeling angst surrounding their problem. When employing emotional intelligence in client relations, I put myself in their shoes – to feel what they are feeling in an effort to provide a solution.

Connecting with our clients is the fundamental step in understanding their stress. Our clients want to be heard. It’s our position to ask questions, foster an environment that is free of judgment, actively listen to the problem at hand, and think first and foremost about our client’s feelings.

When a client comes to us with a problem, it is generally due to a pain point. The pain point does not equate to physical pain, such as breaking a bone, it is emotional pain that carries a certain level of discontent and discouragement for the client that must be understood.

Client pain points can manifest in many forms, from failing to articulate their voice in their industry, to failing to understand how to code to utilize specific software necessary for their business. This is real pain for the client with real consequences. If not addressed appropriately, this pain can lead to feelings of fear, bewilderment, frustration, and anxiety, leaving the client distressed. Employing emotional intelligence to connect with our clients forces us to slow down. It demands that we take care of our clients to understand how this pain point is affecting them on a rudimentary level.

Employing Emotional Intelligence

The capacities of emotional intelligence include emotional self-awareness, emotional self-control, empathy, and influence or relationship management. All of these capacities relate to how we connect with our clients, and how we build relationships that start with authenticity and honesty.

Loving our clients means genuinely caring about their needs in an effort to improve their life by solving their problem with our expertise. Creating genuine relationships builds trust that further leads to our client feeling loved. Through focused investigation, targeted communication, and genuine conversation we learn about their pain points and their stress. Authenticity, warmth, and engagement lead us to a treasure trove of information that we may not have otherwise experienced.

When we love our clients, we earn their trust, which gains their support, and allows us into their world to help them solve their problem. When we love our clients, we’re able to offer them different perspectives that provide objectivity and new ideas to the landscape in which their pain surmounted. Our client feels cared for and knows their business needs will be met based on the connection we’ve made with them.

Caring for our clients serves as a lifeline. As experts in our specific fields, it is our responsibility to appreciate our client’s stress, and lead with compassion and empathy to understand the totality for which they are suffering. Understanding their feelings of being overwhelmed, intimidated, and despondent allows us to determine the proper direction in which to help them and alleviate their stress that is contributing to the pain factor within their business.

How do you solve your client’s pain?