Larry King died this week. He was often called the “world’s greatest interviewer.” People watched and listened as he met all the great newsmakers of the age and revealed them.
Here’s what Larry King said about his effectiveness. “I never learned anything while I was talking.”
Powerful, simple advice.
I had a teacher, E. E. Jennings, pour it out this way:
L/T = Listen/Talk – Jennings said listeners gathered information. To listen was to offer your cup to others and to let them fill it up with ideas, thoughts, and facts you did not know. Add them to your knowledge base and you become more effective.
Q/A = Questions/Answers – Communication is a two-way street. One has to contribute to get the information flowing. The conversation is richer, most fruitful when it is seeded with questions. If your objective is to learn when you speak, you will try to ask more questions rather than supply answers.
M/W = Meanings/Words – Jennings said no communication is simply the words. His advice here reminds the communicator to be engaged. To sense the emotion behind what is being said. To notice what isn’t being said. To determine to read between the lines. Expect there is always more information being shared than what is said.
I kept a card on my study desk with those initials on them until they became a habit. I like to talk, and I like to give answers. But it’s better when I listen, question, and observe.