The Zen of Listening…

We South Africans speak more than we listen.

We hear your story as background noise while compiling our own tale of bigger tribulation to trump yours. Often our story bears little relationship to yours.

The best we can offer someone is time. Time to think. Time to grieve. Time to dream. Time to speak. Time to share. Without interruption. Without judgement.

I notice this in Norway. Norwegians tend to listen. Or at least, offer a superb facsimile of listening. When they respond it’s almost never with their own story. Rather it’s with a sympathetic grunt. And then they sit next to you in companionable silence. Thinking about how best to continue the discussion. Or maybe, just about fishing. But that silence is worth infinitely more than their suggestion on how to solve a problem that often is not solvable, as most issues of the heart are.

I talk a lot. It’s the nature of my business. When you’re on stage people are paying to listen to you. There’s not much time to listen to them.

That makes it difficult when talking to somebody on the phone, for instance, because they too pay me for my time. In theory, that means I should deliver answers. Talk, in other words.

Not so. More than anything else they pay for the questions I ask and the time I invest in listening carefully to their answers. The more I talk, the less effective the results. The more I listen, the more effective. And the nicer for the person on the other side.

Zen of Listening bu rebecca ShafirOne of my favourite books is “The Zen of Listening”. It’s written by Rebecca Shafir. My paperback copy is falling apart. I bought it in 2000, and it’s one of the few physical books I have left from the 40 boxes of books I travelled with for a few years.

Until Mrs Carruthers suggested that her 12 suitcases of clothes, dating back to her 12th birthday, needed priority. By then the Kindle app had arrived and I transferred the important books to my iPad.

This book offers a wealth of solid guidance on how to listen to understand rather than just hearing the words. Great advice for anyone in selling, as well.

We South Africans listen just to offer perspective, advice, and insight. Not because we want to hear our children, or our friends, or even our parents. With our parents it may just be revenge for them never listening to us.

Bottom line, in an age where we do not have enough time for ourselves, giving somebody the gift of our time, just listening to their story or the complaint or whatever they want to say, paying attention to their mood, their feelings, the words they use, their pain, is a rare gift.

And listening without trying to trump their story with our own? Priceless.

Mind Mapping for Business and Study with Freeplane

This week something new about using Mind Mapping to help your business and study efforts using superb free Freeplane software.

I started to write some words detailing how Mind Mapping changed my life. Then I realised that the only way to demonstrate that is through a video rather than the written word.

If a picture is worth a thousand words then a movie is worth 16 pictures per second.

My Mind Mapping video is a tightly edited 19 minutes 36 seconds. I do not try to teach you to use the open source software. Rather I try to show you what the software will do for you, your business, and your kids at school. (The software is free, by the way.)

My first Mind Mapping efforts, with pencil and paper, upped my 1975 Matric results from five D’s and one F to five B’s and one D. That was enough to get me into UCT Medical School. I have been hooked since.

I will not waste your time. If you are not blown away by the content feel free to invoice me for your wasted time. (That’s an offer you won’t see too often!)

Disclaimer: This invoice-me offer is only open to listed PetesWeekly readers, and only until midnight Wednesday July 27, 2016 SA Time.

Genuinely, I am testing a new way of sharing ideas and I need your feedback please.

Please check it out.

Please give it a thumbs up (or otherwise). I value all feedback.

Then please share it on Facebook, Linkedin and/or Twitter. I am testing a few ideas and I will share the results soon. If this works then expect many more videos like this.

Then download the Mind Mapping software here and try it yourself. You will be amazed at how much value it adds to your efforts.

Map of the Mind Mapping for Business and Study Video

The Map in the Video…

Free Answers to Your Business Questions

Peter Carruthers freely shares 32 years of small business experience, including 13 years of living online in SA, England and Norway, to answer readers business questions.

Business Questions about Going Online

  • I’m interested in making a living online?
  • Looking for ideas to sell on the Internet
  • Do I know anyone who has succeeded with Bitcoin or Online trading?
  • Does Affiliate marketing work?
  • If I run a successful online website selling a product, (in South Africa), and find that I start receiving overseas requests for the same product, is it a good idea to open a duplicate of the domain in the USA as a .net or other domain extension? Will this affect the SEO of the site?
  • How does one run an online business without a physical warehouse?

Business Questions about Online marketing

  • Must I sign up with someone to do Google Adwords?
  • Won’t my website automatically display?
  • How do I get onto the first page of Google’s search engine
  • How do you go about affiliate marketing in South Africa if none of the major online retailers have existing programs, or have such poor terms and conditions that it would not be profitable.
  • How important is social media such as twitter, Instagram, facebook, etc for your business. How prevalent is it for the South African space. Please specify order of importance.
  • What effective ways are there for an insurance and medical aid broker in the SA legislated environment to broaden your client base, using your current clientele?
  • How can I find new clients via the Internet inexpensively?

Business Questions about Online Payment Processing

  • We receive payments into our PayPal account from customers in the US. We want to pay our US suppliers from that account as well. Ever since FNB got into bed with PayPal we must transfer those funds into Rands. Can I keep ignoring those messages?
  • Which payment gateways do I recommend? Thinking about Payfast. What percentage should we be paying them?
  • I plan to offer courses, training and consulting from South America into the USA. How does this work from a third world country? How can I offer 1st world services online. Is there enough Internet? And how do I route the funds back to me?

Business Questions about moving from South Africa

  • LSD Working trial in Mauritius. Local Government demanding excessive paperwork
  • Planning a move to Mauritius end 2017. Business Consulting Service. How can we get traction from here. How best can we move there. How best can we duplicate the model there.