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Jim Vidakovich, a noted development specialist, media strategist, executive coach and author, facilitated a recent brainstorming session with a dozen members of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN).

A lot came out of the session, including some interesting points Vidakovich made about listening, which can be keys to success in a new business presentation:

  • The individual with the widest range of responses controls a conversation.
  • Listening is an active process.
  • Once you have started formulating an answer, you have stopped listening.

If none of those seem to fit for you – there’s hope.  He said you can modify a behavior, but you cannot change a personality.  So, you CAN become a good listener if you’re not good at it now.

Here are five more tips from eHow mom:

  1. Body Language – face the speaker and maintain eye contact.
  2. Internal Distractions – focus on what the speaker is saying; no daydreaming or zoning out.
  3. Respond Correctly – allow the speaker to finish before you begin talking.
  4. Engage in the Conversation – ask questions, try not to bring yourself and your own experiences--unless specifically asked to--into the conversation too much.
  5. Be Open-Minded -- try to be unbiased and do not judge the speaker or become angry or defensive.

I’m reminded often: hearing and listening are different.

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio


  1. David Landis says:

    Agree, Scott. Listening – especially in new business presentations – is key to success. And that means active listening, not passive. Can you hear me now?

  2. Scott Hanson says:

    You are so right. Nothing worse than an answer going way off-point during a new business pitch.

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