On September 23rd, 2016, I interviewed Abbidel Cooke, programmer and entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur requires an individual to devote the majority of their time to the expansion of their business and innovative ways of advancing their business. This takes a lot of Abbidel Cooke’s time, but he’s able to make it work while also being employed as a sales consultant at Best Buy.
A barrier is defined as anything that gets in the way of clear communication. One barrier we had experienced was the timing of the interview. Due to his hectic schedule, it was hard to set a time and date. Hence, when being interviewed Mr. Cooke was very tired from his extensive schedule. His thoughts occasionally distanced from the questions being asked. The barrier mentioned can be considered a physiological barrier because it was caused by fatigue, and ill health. Ill health is included, because during the interview, Mr. Cooke describes an experience of when he was tired and unable to communicate with his clients. He then mentioned the following statement.
“The ingredients are there to help you succeed in your business, but you have to take into consideration that you have to keep your health. If you don’t keep your health good then you won’t actively listen, you won’t talk to your customer, you won’t show [good] body language.”
Another barrier was his cultural background. Mr. Cooke is Bangladesh. At various moments, his accent protruded, which made it difficult for me to understand. This barrier was not only present during the interview, but also when I had to transcribe. When listening to the audio file, there were times when his statements were grammatically incorrect or incomplete thoughts. I often used brackets to make sense of his statement for the audience’s sake. This barrier can be considered a physiological barrier, because it arose due to his accent (or his failure to meet a speaking standard in the English language).
However, these barriers did not dramatically hinder nor cease the interview. The overall experience was great. Not only was I able to meet and learn about the life of someone in my field, I was also able to gain experience in conducting interviews. This is a skill I would need to improve on, as an aspiring entrepreneur. I foresee me being involved in multiple interviews in my career, as both the interviewer and occasionally the interviewee.
On September 23rd, 2016 I was given the opportunity to interview Abbidel Cooke, a programmer and entrepreneur. Abbidel Cooke mentioned many influential and important key points in relation to various concepts of listening. As a programmer, his belief is very simple. Programming is a “whole different language…a whole different world”. It gives him exposure to a world beyond speech, and to a much more technical world. He explained that having this exposure gives him different ways to learn. As mentioned in the interview, he’s tri-lingual and has always been intrigued by other cultures. Programming is a new platform for him to explore an entirely different experience.
Salesperson listening has been defined as “the cognitive process of actively sensing, interpreting, evaluating and responding to the verbal and nonverbal messages of present or potential customers” (Castleberry and Shepherd 1993, p. 36). Mr. Cooke touched upon an important related technique. He said, it is very important to understand his customers. “If you don’t know what your customer wants, you can’t create a better future for them.” He goes on to explain, by understanding a customer’s wants and needs, and most importantly eliminating language barriers, you are able to connect more efficiently. “…words are very important. If you don’t use the words the way the customer would look at it, you can’t really do business. You have to literally make up good words to help them understand.” In other words, you have to connect with the customer. You can’t just assume that they will understand everything you’re saying. In any profession, you have to educate them as well as guide them. “So, it’s listening, understanding, and giving feedback when they want it. Not when they need to hear it, but when they want it.” Timing is essential. In general, not everyone wants advice even if it’s needed. Sometimes it’s best to wait for when advice is asked for rather than forcefully advising an individual.
Abbdiel Cooke briefly mentions some of the goals of his career. He names three: Expansion of his business; To give society services for reasonable prices; To educate his clients. Within 10 years he would like his business to grow exponentially. He is able to do contribute to his own success by creating long-term relationships with customers and having their business with him lasts for long periods. The salesperson who asks what the customer needs, listens to the response, and creatively provides a solution will build a better relationship with customers that could be beneficial to the business (Ramsey and Ravipreet, 1997). Abbidel Cooke successfully executes this. He explains how important is it to actively listen to his customers in the interview. When you listen, the customer feels appreciated and they feel as though their time is not being wasted. According to Karrass (1983), “Listening is an important aspect of the negotiation process. Negotiation requires listening, and listening can serve as an inexpensive concession to the other party (Karrass 1983).” Mr. Cooke defines active listening as, “having a piece of paper in front of you and actually listening to what they want. You are listening to [their needs] and jotting down notes as you listen…try to have an open mind and listen to them”. When he shows the customers that he cares, they favor doing business with him now and in the future. In some cases, he’s recommended for promotions by customers.
Listening is such a powerful tool in his everyday life. And he notices when something has hindered his ability to listen. He tells a story of when he felt overwhelmed with his work. He had attended school regularly, worked 40 hours as a sales consultant and 50-60 hours in his own business as a Programmer. He felt exhausted and completely absent from his surroundings when he attended his sales consultant job the following day. When his customers were trying to explain what they needed, he said it was almost as if he was not hearing anything. “Everything was coming in one ear and out the other.” To overcome this obstacle, he said coffee really wakes him up and gets him going. Mr. Cooke believes his health play an important factor in listening and understanding his clients and their needs. He’s able to focus and be productive when he feels physically and mentally healthy.
The clip below is a brief discussion on creating relationships with Abbidel Cooke:
Castleberry, Stephen B. and C. David Shepherd. 1993. “Effective Interpersonal Listening and Personal Selling.” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management 13 (Winter): 35-49.
Ramsey, Rosemary P., and Ravipreet S. Sohi. “Listening to Your Customers: The Impact of Perceived Salesperson Listening Behavior on Relationship Outcomes. “Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 25.2 (1997): 127-37. Web.
When I first sat down for my interview I was very nervous. However, I managed to get through it and find out some interesting facts about listening in the marketing profession. Kim says that listening is a very big part of her life and it all starts back to her childhood. Her parents wouldn’t give her their full attention while talking to her so now she is conscious of how important it is to listen to others. At Winter Park Hospital Kim is the manager of internal marketing so her main focus in her job is listening. She needs to gather information from the staff in the hospital and disperse it throughout. Important listening skills for her are making eye contact, giving verbal encouragers, taking notes, repeating back the information she has just received. One of her pet peeves is not writing notes when she gives someone strict instructions. For example, she told me a story about one of her interns she had a couple years back. This intern was not very respectful and Kim felt as if she were wasting her time trying to teach her. The intern would always be on her phone or when she was told to do something she would bother Kim a lot because Kim would have to stay on phone with her while she was doing the errands and that could have all been avoided if she just took notes. In our interview she described her ideal listening strategies as I stated above and it was exactly what we have been learning in class.
I was unsure how conducting an interview was going to go seeing as though I had never done one before, but to my surprise the whole process went pretty well with relative ease. After figuring out some minor hiccups that come up while trying to record the interview everything went smoothly, and functioned almost like a natural flowing conversation. After interviewing Mr. Thomas about being a vet I found that Vets can definitely fall under the helping profession category. I think they fit better in this category more so than the healthcare category because while the do provide physical support for animals they are also providing an emotional support for pet owners.
My key findings from the interview would be the main component of listening when it comes to being a vet would be critical listening. After transcribing my interview and looking it over I found that a lot of the listening that is done is to find out key information that is related to problem solving. At vet has to listening to evaluate and learn. Mr. Thomas even stressed that listening plays a large role because you are dealing with patients that cannot speak or advocate for themselves. You have to listening to their owners to extract as much information and learn what you can about the patient. Another large part of her listening process is knowing what questions to ask, and paying attention to the feedback you are getting. Mr. Thomas could not stress enough that if you don’t pay attention you can miss a lot, which could in the end lead to a miss diagnosis. She also stressed that listening is key to defining a relationship between vets and clients because vets don’t what their clients to think that they don’t know what is going on because that is where you begin to have breakdowns.
Not only is critical listening important, but I also found that therapeutic listening plays a role in being a vet. While it might not be the as apparent and as important as critical listening therapeutic listening is a part of the comforting process when dealing with animal owners. In one of me questions I asked Mrs. Thomas if emotions got in the way or effected listening. She said yes. She told me that you have to step back and let me get their emotions out, let them breathe and give them the minute that they need. Sometimes people don’t understand what is happening or want to deny that their pet is sick and the vet has to do their best to comfort that individual and let them know that there is no other option and they have to deal with those client’s emotions.
Much of what I found came from minutes 12:52 to 22:00 in my interview.
Nanci- yeah I would say so. Students need to be listened to so that you can judge what your next step is. Parents, in the K through 12 environments need to also be listened to since they are a stakeholder. Teaching I guess like any organization, you must listen to your chain of command my principal as an example. You must be able to act on what knowledge you glean from your conversations. Because teaching a classroom of twenty-five—no matter what the age group—requires hundreds of micro-decisions daily, and without listening the wrong choices would often be made. Listening, filtering the information and moving forward is a three-step process that cannot be divided and still having the same outcomes. Think of it this way. If a person assumes they know all of the information and makes decisions and choices, what are the odds that they will be making the right decisions without all of the information? Does that make sense?
The three things that I picked out from the interview is how important listening between teacher and parent actually is. The next thing is how students and teachers listening habits can affect the social outcome. And the last thing is how technology plays a role in listening and as a distraction as well.
Key point learned from interview: The importance of teacher and parent communication has been widely recognized and Ms. Brillant mentioned how important it is to listen to parents, since they are stakeholders. This article discusses a study that shows when teachers are given instruction in listening to parents, significant listening benefits and communication are achieved.
Key point learned from the interview: Children’s talking and listening skills in the classroom is vital to the educational process. This study reviews children’s and teacher’s listening habits and how it affected learning and social outcome.
Key point learned from the interview: Technology and systems to aid in listening and filtering information are critical to a successful classroom. This interview discusses how students can use computers and technology better, for example, in a computer lab where students need support learning a language.
Bosacki, S., Rose-Krasnor, L., & Coplan, R. J. (2014). Children’s talking and listening within the classroom: teachers’ insights. Early Child Development & Care, 184(2), 247-265.
McNaughton, D., Hamlin, D., McCarthy, J., Head-Reeves, D., & Schreiner, M. (2007). Learning to Listen: Teaching an Active Listening Strategy to Preservice Education Professionals. Topics In Early Childhood Special Education, 27(4), 223-231.
Zou, B. (2013). Teachers’ support in using computers for developing students’ listening and speaking skills in pre-sessional English courses. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 26(1), 83-99.
I was very scared to conduct this interview but after completing it I was glad I chose my interviewee. I was able to find two key findings about my interviewee personally and one key finding about listening and how it pertains to firefighting. My interviewee was Nina Stone. The three findings were: how much of a leader she was, how she wanted to be the best in everything she did, and how breakdown in listening effects firefighting.
The first point is that I was astonished by how much of a leader she was. In the beginning of the interview she spoke about how being the oldest of all of her siblings was hard for her. She used her childhood to shape her into being a leader in everything she did whether it was on the court, in the classroom or in the firehouse. Being the point guard in basketball you have to lead the team. In the interview she said “My coach pulled me in her office and told me I am the leader on the floor and my body language determines the team plays.”
The second point was that she wanted to be the best in everything she did. She never saw anything as a defeat. If she didn’t understand something she wouldn’t rest until she fully understood it. The example I remember from the interview was the reason she became a RN nurse. She became an Rn because she couldn’t understand the health language the nurses were speaking when they explained what was wrong with her dad. I saw in her eyes that she has drive in everything she does and that is why she is successful today. While going through this conversation with this older man, Nina was practicing intrapersonal listening. Intrapersonal listening is when you recognize the unique experiences of another person. “As we liesten to others, everything they say is interpreted in terms of our own internal “voice”” (Purdy & Borisoff pg.23) It is also when you create a support environment that confirms the other.
The third point I took from this interview is why listening is important in firefighting. According to dictionary.com is defined as when you take notice of and act on what someone says; respond to advice or a request. Nina stated that listening is very important in firefighting. If there is a breakdown in listening a lot could go wrong. The worst thing that could go wrong is that someone on her team doesn’t return on the truck with them. She said her and her team does everything in their power to complete the mission smoothly. Listening is possibly the most important factor in firefighting. In Listening in Everyday Life, the first two chapters explain different types of listening. The type of listening that Nina and her crew focuses on is comprehensive listening.”Comprehensive listening is for an understanding of a message.”(Purdy& Borisoff pg. 12)
Being a leader, wanting to be the best, and active listening plays a key factor in firefighting. In order to be successful Nina said she needs all three finding.
Citation: “Listen – Definition of Listen in English | Oxford Dictionaries.” Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford Dictionaries, n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2016.
Borisoff, Deborah, and Michael Purdy. Listening in Everyday Life: A Personal and Professional Approach. Lanham, MD: U of America, 1991. Print.
My interview with Sophie, a waitress at Winter Park’s The Porch, focused largely on strategic listening in terms of stressful situations. As a result of studying the service industry, I understood prior to my interview that my interviewee would have to listen greatly. Similar to bartenders, waitresses msophieust deal with patrons at all hours of the day. However, my interviewee spoke of the added stress of The Porch’s “party scene.” Before interviewing Sophie, I had never thought about her role on Saturday nights when music starts playing at a louder decibel and young college students flock to the bar. Oftentimes, Sophie’s job transcends from a simple waitressing job to one of extreme stress once midnight hits. As a result of loud music and even louder talking, my interviewee must listen more effectively to her patrons.
Sophie defines listens in terms of “keeping open ears and an open heart, and paying attention to what is being asked of you or what is being told to you, and being quiet while doing so.” Despite barriers to listening through physical distractions, Sophie is able to use to SIER* model effectively. Additionally, my interviewee uses nonverbal behaviors, such as kinesics, proxemics, and oculesics, when conversing with patrons of The Porch. Although she did not know the five types of listening — discriminative, comprehensive, appreciative, empathetic, and critical — I determined that she uses almost all five when working. When a costumer is unsure of what he or she wants to order, Sophie uses discriminative listening to determine this and offers an additional dish. Additionally, when speaking to her boss, Sophie uses comprehensive listening. If her boss tells her how to complete a specific task, she must utilize this type of listening to understand and complete the task instructed. Lastly, she must employ appreciative listening when speaking to costumers to ensure a greater tip. Sophie must be interested in what her patrons are telling her and guarantee that they are having a good time.
In spite of being pressured into working as a waitress, my interviewee enjoys what she does and values the skills she has learned. In fact, she asserts, “It’s an awesome thing to have on your resume and I’ve learned way more serving tables than I have in the classroom.” This is due, in part, to communicating with costumers, or interpersonal communication and interpersonal listening.
Links to relevant scholarly work/credible sources:
My interview with Ann Marie Varga, the Communications Manager for the Orange County Government, focused mainly on the importance of listening in the public relations profession. Prior to conducting the interview, I thought that the public relations would have a much heavier emphasis on the speaking end of an interaction, because the profession is focused on constructing a favorable public image of an organization. However, Ann Marie explained that constructing this favorable image is impossible without listening to both the views of the general public and the people working within the organization. Public relations is also about building relationships and storytelling, which would both be impossible without effective listening habits. As Ann Marie said multiple times throughout our interview, “listening is critical.” Public relations professionals cannot create the ideal image for their organization without listening to the desires of the people that the organization interacts with on a day to day basis.
The most important recurring theme of my interview with Ann Marie was that building relationships is a key component of public relations. In order to build these relationships, you have to listen to the interests of the public so that you can communicate messages and stories that will be viewed favorably. Ann Marie also talked a great deal about the impact that technology has had on listening and creating relationships within her profession. She truly believes that “listening” via social media is critical for both creating stories that the public will be in favor of and correcting misinformation that negatively impacts the image of the company. However, she believes that there is no substitute for building impactful, real-life relationships with both her team and the public. Her view on the importance of listening in collaboration can be heard in the interview from minute 17:45 to 18:15.
The final central theme of my interview with Ann Marie was the significance of listening in crisis communication. In public relations, you often have to communicate information regarding crises. Ann Marie talked about how it’s important to listen both in person and via social media to make sure that you can mobilize your team when a negative story is brewing. Without effective listening in these situations, you cannot create a story that will properly depict the image that your organization is attempting to convey. This form of effective listening in crisis communication ties back to the themes of storytelling and building relationships. The only way you can connect with the community that you serve is through collaboration. This collaboration means building relationships with the people surrounding you, so that you can listen to their attitudes and ideas in order to create the most impactful stories for the community.
Thanks to everyone who joined us for our live demo of the StoryCorps app. For those of you who missed it, below is a brief outline of what we covered in the demo.
Jane Field explained the StoryCorps App and all it’s features.
Rachel Walton showed how to post your content from StoryCorps to the blog.
Scott Bokash went over how to create a clip of your interview in MediaSpace and post it to the blog.
You can also watch the entire recording here:
StoryCorps has a step-by-step guide to downloading an unpublished interview from your phone to your computer using either an iPhone or an Android.
[A final note: In our demo, we didn’t mention that you can also create a custom question list in the StoryCorps.me web browser using the Question Generator–which you can then send to the email address associated with your StoryCorps account. This would be useful for sending the question list to your interview subject in advance so that they can have time to prepare thoughtful responses to your questions.]
After my interview with Jimmy, a physical therapist, I learned that effective communication is a crucial part of successful rehabilitation. Without strong communicative skills, it can be nearly impossible to treat a patient thoroughly. Jimmy explained that the level of motivation in each patient varies so much that it is important to tailor a program to meet their specific needs, abilities, and willingness to keep up with the regimen. He also said that being a physical therapist requires much more interpersonal communication skills than a doctor or surgeon. Additionally, Jimmy expressed the need for more psychology and communication classes in the educational curriculum for physical therapists in training instead of such a heavy emphasis on biology and chemistry.
One of the more interesting things that I learned from the interview was that a physical therapist has to have exceptional “people skills” on top of being knowledgeable about the human body. The audio clip attached to this blog post is an excerpt from my interview in which Jimmy talks about the need for treating a person as a whole instead of just a single body part. This “treatment” includes psychological and emotional support in order to reduce pain and promote healing. If patients are not able to express themselves and if the therapists cannot properly comprehend their communication, then there is no sense in going through with physical rehab.
Jimmy has been a physical therapist for approximately twenty years, and in our interview he noted the dramatic shift in curriculum for PT students. Even though the profession has stayed the same, the classes that are required have more to do with biology and chemistry than with anatomy or kinesiology. Jimmy’s perspective, however, is that PT schools should offer more classes in psychology and communication in order to prep the students for daily interactions with patients. The knowledge of “hard” science is useful, but it will not make a therapist’s job easier when it comes time to meet with patients and assess their situations individually. As previously mentioned, a doctor can be concerned with an isolated body part but the physical therapist’s job is to heal the entire person. Creating a custom rehabilitation program can be much more rewarding when the therapist possesses the communication skills to be fully in sync with a patient’s needs or concerns.
This interview gave me an insightful look into physical therapy as a profession and the role that communication plays on a daily basis. I learned that putting a person through physical rehab is so much more than healing a single body part, and that a skilled therapist will work to boost the morale of the entire person. Above all else, being a compassionate listener and an effective communicator is perhaps the most important part of the job.