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๛Nº242 Consider before you start: listening is a lost art 🗣️👂

Twotone Consulting | Est. 2014
๛Nº242 Consider before you start: listening is a lost art 🗣️👂
By Jon Woodroof • Issue #242 • View online
Hello!
The last week’s edition garnered more nice replies than usual by far which made me feel this issue had to be more than just on par. (And kicking off with a rhyme is just the start!)
Listening to the feedback people share each week is an aspect of my listening technique. The topics that make people keen to click, compelled to respond, and even those rarely so incredulously inflamed to inspire fiery rebuking replies are all aspects of listening with my eyes.
So when I recently read Abby Farson Pratt’s piece on the joy and challenge of designing for people who are very different from us, I immediately thought of all the ways I personally and the extended Twotone team can sometimes be tasked to promote tools, products, pitches, and promotions that may not interest us personally per sé but need to be engaging for our audience, our client’s customers and/or others in the industry.
To accomplish this with as little cognitive bias as possible: we need to listen. Listen to the media we communicate with, marketing managers who hire us, and members of the general public who purchase these products. Well, Abby’s eloquent example of content marketing (albeit more about design than consulting ultimately) got me stoked so I’m sharing the cliff notes here:
  1. Practice the art of forensic listening –It’s listening — but listening with an active wisdom.” I like their idea of leveraging their team’s expertise to bear on what they hear & distilling that into a road map to then blaze a trail.
  2. Ensure we’re solving the right problem – Forensic listening creates a healthy sense of caution to avoid proposing easy or common solutions to the issues they hear from clients. i.e. “what worked for one client may not work for another. Even within the same organization, needs can be vastly different from project to project.”
  3. Know when to apply gentle pressure – “The hard work is knowing when it’s right to push back and when it’s right to yield. This is true of any healthy relationship, whether it’s a friend, partner, or client. Balance is essential.” Finding that balance is really tough because due to the “relatively short timeline of a client engagement (compared with, say, years of marriage), trust has to grow and evolve rather rapidly.”
  4. Reject trendiness; favor elegance – Like Abby confirmed: “our tastes differ from the end user’s. What shouldn’t change is the elegance of our solution” In their work, this may often mean declining the most fashionable solution & opting for a more resilient and sustainable option. Biasing toward elegance over trendiness is an admirable goal IMHO.
  5. Have the humility to revise – stay humble & remember an opportunity one should never forsake, is that to make a new mistake. Paradoxically, it is vital to flex on being experts but also experts who can admit they’re wrong.
I hope these points piqued your own ideas of upping your listening game & check out more of Abby’s wise writing on Journey Group’s Medium page.
thank you, as always, for reading & sharing this newsletter,
Jon
📡 @themechanicsofjoy 📻 @echoboxradio Thursday 14:00 CET
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