Wednesday, Mel once again welcomed Mark Jeffries to the hallowed halls of her Borders Media studios, and as usual, it sent Hank and Steve into fits of jealousy as Mel fawned all over the mega-successful, uber-charming, and metro-sexual Mr. Jeffries.  Eventually, Mel was able to reign the boys in and Mark was able to do what he does best – communicate and help us better communicate.

The ability to communicate effectively is important, and Mel and Mark discussed how the David Letterman versus Sarah Palin jokehas created such a stir.  Palin’s side took offense, Letterman’s side didn’t see anything wrong, and supporters of each lined up and dug in.  Was it a mean spirited joke?  Was it a bad joke?  Was it even funny?  Should the Palins have rolled with it?  Should they be offended?  Was the apology even necessary?

Whatever the answers, one thing is clear, the way in which the joke was communicated and the subsequent name-calling and posturing that followed was a master lesson in communication, good and bad.

Mel then asked Mark for the “power tip.”  Is there anything we can glean from this latest buzz?

Mark said in order to be a great communicator, one must master the power of listening.  And not in the traditional sense of  ”listening” we’ve heard for decades (hear -> repeat -> affirm), but with a new focus.  Listening, today, means watching, observing, and interpreting, and then adapting what you do and say all as a result of what you see and hear.

It’s about assuming that what someone tells you is not really what they mean.

To be an effective communicator, you always have to be asking …”What does this person want?”  “What can I give them?”  “How can I make their life easier to make my life easier?”

  1. Hear.  Watch.  Observe.  Interpret.
  2. Adapt according to what you hear and see.
  3. Give in order to receive.

Here’s hoping Mark visits again, soon.

Mark Jeffries, author of “What’s Up with Your Handshake?” is a consultant to some of the world€™s largest corporations, law firms and professional service firms, and is a leader in the field of Strategic Communication and Soft Skills.  Follow him on Twitter or check him out at MarkJeffries.com.

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