“A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something.”
—Wilson Mizner, playwright
One of my executive coaching clients, Jed, is a partner at a leading ad agency. While discussing the impact of good listening, he related a story to me about two young hires, Gerri and Ethan, with whom he’d been working. Gerri and Ethan were both fresh out of college when they joined the agency, with no previous advertising experience. As their team leader, Jed asked them each to sketch out campaign ideas to present to him directly after client meetings so that he could critique their work and help train them as efficiently as possible.
During one initial meeting with a beverage-company client, the client kept ...