"Some people seem to have a magic touch when it comes to getting people to buy into their plans, goals, and desires. But, in reality, reaching people isn't magic. It's an art - and a science. And it's easier than you think."

Thus begins Mark Goulston's excellent book, Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone. Through his fascinating and easy-read style, Goulston provides practical and practicable techniques to build optimal relationships and transform frustrating and challenging interpersonal situations into mutually productive outcomes. At the core of Goulston's provocative work is the premise that all people have a yearning and drive to be "felt" (i.e. understood at many levels) and the most successful communicators, influencers and relationship-builders have that ability - they can make people "feel felt."

This book explores how we can modify our approach to influence others, emphasizing the very human behavior of listening: what it really is, how to do it effectively, and examples of when, why and how it can improve our communications and our relationships. Highly consistent with recent neuroscience research, Goulston explains how our brains "work" in our human interactions and introduces his "Persuasion Cycle," which provides a roadmap for moving others from resisting to listening; from listening to considering; from considering to willing to do; from willing to do to doing; and, from doing to glad they did.

In an elegantly simplistic guide to achieving the "buy-in" of others, we learn nine basic rules and twelve techniques to move people through the Persuasion Cycle, not by telling them they should, but by getting them to tell us why they should. This approach builds empathy, lowers conflict, and results in buy-in to a desired solution. But Goulston doesn't stop with laying out the process; we are provided with seven case studies that aptly illustrate the Persuasion Cycle in action, accompanied by the results produced.

Anyone familiar with the principles taught in Carew's DPS (Dimensions of Professional Selling) sales training program will undoubtedly recognize the parallel logic and familiar themes of how to build relationships and influence decisions, but it is fun to see it approached from a different perspective. Like DPS training, this book has the potential to dramatically change lives in a very positive and impactful manner - demystifying the "magic" of positive human relations along the way!

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