Christine Miles is an author, professional keynote speaker, consultant, executive coach, thought leader, and entrepreneur. She is the Founder and CEO of EQuipt, a training and consulting company that helps leadership teams grow sales, develop people, and create cultures of understanding.
She developed The Listening Path™, a transformational workshop on listening to understand, which has been taught at various Fortune 100 corporations, universities, law firms, and privately-held companies. She is the author of What Is It Costing You Not to Listen? What Is It Costing You Not to Listen? will encourage you to examine how you are listening. You’ll discover that not only are many of the problems in your life due to not listening effectively, but listening helps to solve most problems.
Christine Miles is a longtime expert in educating individuals and organizations on how to listen in ways that transform how they lead, sell, influence, and succeed in every aspect of life. Following the steps of her breakthrough Listening Path™ will provide you with a critical key to your success – understanding. Through Christine’s game-changing approach to listening, you will learn to:
- Hear what is said and not said
- Identify your listening persona and realize when it is unhelpful
- Soothe your subconscious so you can listen differently
- Listen with intent to gather others’ stories
- Replace interfering direct questions with just six questions
- Mini-reflect to speed up the listening process without getting lost
- Affirm to create alignment, break down walls, and solve problems
In business, listening is good for the bottom line. It creates trust between coworkers so they can solve problems better, get things done, manage conflict, stay engaged, and empower one another. In personal relationships, listening is an act of love that communicates to people they are important to you.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode
- Why no one hears the same thing
- Do we have a listening problem?
- Why we only hear about 3% of what is said
- How the same thing can be said but people all hear differently
- How it affects our personal and professional lives
- How we can listen better
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for High Velocity Radio.
Stone Payton: [00:00:15] Welcome to the High Velocity Radio show, where we celebrate top performers producing better results in less time. Stone Payton here with you this morning. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast. Author, speaker, consultant and Executive coach, Ms. Christine Miles, how are you?
Christine Miles: [00:00:35] I’m doing great. Thank you so much for having me today.
Stone Payton: [00:00:38] It is a delight to have you on the show. I’ve really been looking forward to this conversation and I’m thinking a great place to start would be if you could share with me and our listeners mission purpose. What are what are you and your team really out there trying to do for folks?
Christine Miles: [00:00:56] Well, I’m so glad you started there. Not everybody does. Stone So thank you. Yeah, we are very much a mission driven team and company. Our mission is really to change the paradigm of communication from talking, telling and knowing to really making listening the most powerful form of communication. And in order to do that, we believe that you have to listen to understand and not just to attend or to pay attention, but really to get the meaning of the message and the messenger. So we want to shift the way people communicate. We have zero years of education or school systems on listening. We spend a lot of time teaching people again how to tell, talk and know. And then we wonder why we’re failing at communication. So we hope to really make a difference in the world that way.
Stone Payton: [00:01:44] Well, it sounds like tremendously rewarding work. I got to know the back. How did you get involved in this kind of work?
Christine Miles: [00:01:53] Well, yeah. So it started very young for me, as I’m sure many of your listeners have the same thing. The passion and purpose really, I believe, shows up at a very young age, and it shapes us from from an early time. So I was five, the earliest I can remember listening in a different way. I grew up with a mom who had psychological issues. She lost her mother from childbirth. It set her up very profoundly for pain that most people did not see that went on below the surface. My mother was very warm, charismatic, attractive, loving, so she lit up the room. But underneath the surface was this really deep pain that she couldn’t really overcome. And my job was to understand that pain. So part of my job in the family was to listen to that, understand what wasn’t said. And and that has really that ability, since I was taught so young, has really been the single thread in all of my success. As early as high school, I can look back and see that that was kind of a game changer for me. And what I’ve learned through the work in business and with people is that the reason I was successful was often the reason that people were failing, businesses were failing, projects were failing, leaders were failing, salespeople were failing. And that is their inability to really listen, not their fault, but because they haven’t been taught. And so really what I’ve done is created a company where we can teach people in a simple and transformative way to listen and learn to listen as I did from a young age.
Stone Payton: [00:03:24] So let’s talk about the work a little bit. You’re working with teams, you’re working with execs, you’ve got a book. What is it costing you not to listen? Tell us a little bit about how the work unfolds.
Christine Miles: [00:03:37] Yes. So we work with all the constituents that you just described. We are a business to business company. Our part of our mission is to re educate adults and organizations to drive business results. Ultimately, we also want to educate children and families is the longer term mission. But we do that through interactive workshops and really helping people learn to behaviorally listen differently. I wrote the book in 2021 and I titled it What Is It Costing You Not to listen? Because what I’ve realized is everybody knows listening is important. I’ve asked that question over and over throughout the years. Is it important? Nobody ever says no to that question, but what is it costing them? And what what are the problems that are unfolding as a result of not knowing how to do it is something that we don’t think about since we’re not taught. So you can’t solve a problem you don’t know you have. So I always ask business leaders, what is the cost of your organization? What is it costing in terms of retention sales, how you do a digital transformation, how your customers are affected? Because it’s assumed that we should know how to listen rather than it being taught. So we have to help people identify that problem.
Stone Payton: [00:04:49] Why is it, do you think, that somebody can say something and there’ll be two or three, four or five, six people in the room and we have we all have a tendency to hear something different from the same set of words.
Christine Miles: [00:05:03] Well. Isn’t that funny, by the way? How is that possible? It’s the old adage where we all see an accident happen on the street and we have different perceptions of what happened. So. So the brain is a marvelous organism that obviously empowers us to do unbelievable things. But it also is one of our greatest enemies when it comes to communication and listening, because there are so many things that interfere with our ability to listen. And one of the major things is, is really the story that we tell ourselves and our own biases, whether that’s about people or events or about what someone is saying and just says by way of example, that the closer we are to somebody, the more bias we have that we already know what they’re going to say. In our relationships, we do that in businesses, we do that with our customers, we do that. So right there is just one simple example of how that bias kind of takes us off task. And in the absence of having any skill because we’re just winging it, we don’t know how to overcome those those biases and perceptions, and it interferes with our ability to listen, to understand.
Stone Payton: [00:06:13] So what have you learned about the cost? I’m operating under the impression that it is significant.
Christine Miles: [00:06:20] It is significant. And you we talked a little bit before the show started, just about your listeners really liking the connections to the guest as well as the information. And I think it’s it’s such a great mission that you have yourself because not listening well and not knowing how to listen, I believe is really fundamentally costing us connection. And it’s death by a thousand cuts, though it’s usually not like one sharp gaping wound. So it arose over time and a road to our relationships with our families, our children, our spouses, our friends. Again, in business, we could talk inordinately about all the things that it affects from sales to employee relations leadership. I mean, we know the adage that people leave managers, they don’t leave companies. And fundamentally it comes down to not feeling heard, understood, or or really listening to to understand the employee. So there’s again, gaping wounds aren’t the way it starts. It starts by just those little cuts and infractions that happen over and over again until the relationships are fractured, it can’t be repaired.
Stone Payton: [00:07:26] So in your work, there’s methodology, structure, discipline, rigor, I don’t know ways to exercise the listening muscle that you can share and help people work through.
Christine Miles: [00:07:38] Absolutely. And and so the analogy and I talk about this in the book and the book really is the handbook to the solution to the problem of what it costs not to listen, which is called the listening path. And the analogy I use in the book and we use in the workshop is that you need you wouldn’t go hiking or backpacking in the woods for three weeks without any supplies or tools in your backpack. You wouldn’t survive from one side of that trail to the other. The same is true conversationally. We go in unprepared without any tools, and we expect to get to the other side of the conversation with the message and the meaning. And so we provide the tools in that backpack on the listening path so that you, as the listener, can really guide the person that’s talking, whether that’s your spouse or your customer, for example, really to to find the insight and discover meaning in the message. And you also said something really important in your intro, which is it’s not just about effectiveness, it’s also about efficiency because things are moving fast. It’s hard to listen. So we have to not only do that effectively, but efficiently. So I often say I can throw a football, but so can Tom Brady. Why can he do it better? It’s not only because he’s practiced, but he knows exactly how to do it right. And so when you know how to have the tools and you know how to do it, you become both effective and efficient.
Stone Payton: [00:09:01] You mentioned something a couple of moments ago that that really struck me and I hadn’t thought about it, but something along the lines of the closer you are to a person, the more maybe you already have this bias and you feel like you already know. I don’t know what they’re going to say, why they’re going to say it. And as a result, you know, maybe I’m not listening nearly as well to my wife, Holly, as I might to you.
Speaker1: [00:09:26] Yeah. I think about the more we know somebody, the more we think we know what they’re going to say. And let me take this to a business scenario to kind of to take it back to the great example you just gave with your spouse. So we go in to see customers that are brand new and they start to talk about their problem. And because we’ve heard that problem so many times over the years, we have experience and knowledge. We tend to rush to want to solve the problem they’re presenting. Because we’ve heard it so many times. We have the bias. We already know how to solve it. Two things happen. One is that the. Customer may not be ready to hear yourself because you haven’t earned the right by understanding the problem and understanding that it’s unique to them, even if it’s not unique to you. And secondly, what are the unique aspects of their problem that makes them like a snowflake the same but different? And so those biases, because when we hear the same thing over and over again, we start to problem solve or sell way too soon. And the same is true in our families. I’ve heard this 100 times. I already know how you feel. I know how you’re going to say. And we tend to shut down a little bit more and listen less rather than listen more.
Speaker2: [00:10:42] So at this point in your career, what are you finding the most rewarding? What are you enjoying the most about the work?
Speaker1: [00:10:50] Well, it is the connection. So so I had a my father was a businessman. He started he started out selling chicken feed after studying agriculture and was pretty successful and parlayed that into a career ultimately in financial planning. So his customers were his connections, his friends. He said, You have to really understand them intimately. So I love business. I love driving business results, I love helping companies sell more, read more effectively, get things done. But ultimately, one of the side effects of the work we do are the connections that are made in teams and also the connections that happen with their families. Because when you apply something to your personal life, you’re more likely to apply it to your business life and vice versa. So the game changing things that we hear from our clients around, they went home and had a conversation with their their son, their daughter, their spouse. And what that led to in terms of the way they were impacted is just it’s just amazing. I mean, I’ve told this story before. Just last fall, we had a gentleman say, you know, it’s in front of this whole team. He’s a high level account except for a large pharma company. And he he went home and used the listening tools to talk to a 16 year old daughter and came back the next day. And when he shared his story was in tears and said, I got the first unsolicited hug from her that I’ve had in three years. I don’t know how to thank you.
Speaker2: [00:12:17] Wow. I’m glad I asked.
Speaker1: [00:12:19] Yeah, I am.
Speaker2: [00:12:19] So, so. So the book, what was that experience like? Did some of it come together really easily for you and other parts more difficult? What was what was that process like, putting that book together, committing these ideas to paper?
Speaker1: [00:12:34] Yeah, it’s, you know, it’s funny, I feel for women who’ve had a baby and right away they say, When’s the next one coming? Are you having another one? Because it is a birth. Giving birth to a book is a process. And a lot of people said, When’s your next one coming out? I said, Give me a minute. So I’m very grateful. I had I had a great book coach. His name is Patrick Snow. He wrote The boy Entrepreneur from a very early in his career, and he’s really simplified how the things and steps you need to do to write a book. So he was instrumental and I want to give him a shout out. I was pretty committed and dogged, so I knew I had to go away. I went away for nine days to Mexico and wrote 90% of the book. In those nine days, I was I was on a mission. So a lot of it flowed out of me. And thanks to him, it was organized well. So this is my my life story and my life’s work and really, you know, an effort to simplify and really give this more teeth so people could have it at their fingertips that they could learn how to listen differently right away.
Speaker2: [00:13:34] So how does the whole how do you get the new clients? How does the whole sales and marketing thing work for a practice like yours?
Speaker1: [00:13:43] Well, a lot of our a lot of our clients come from the people hearing and knowing about me and the work that I’ve done over the years. And since writing the book more, we’re getting more reach from a larger clientele. So with the marketing team, I think one of the so many difficulties through COVID, right, and so much disconnection, I knew people were hurting deeply after the through the COVID experience, which is why I decided to write the book. So I believe the companies were going to be more ready to tap into to this issue of not listening, which is why I had the urgency to get the book done so quickly. And so I think that’s making the difference to, sadly, as one of the side effects, that this is an emotional tsunami that people have experienced and the tidal wave hasn’t really kind of totally come in yet. People are we’re going to see a ripple effect for quite some time on the emotional impact of of the lockdown and and the different things that happen. I lived through my own shutdown in my thirties, and I talked about this in the book. I was a very competitive athlete until my my late twenties. I was on the upward trajectory of my career and I was in an auto accident that after three years of chronic pain went acute. And I was sitting at home going, What happened to my world? Much like what happened in COVID? The difference was it felt like just me going through it rather than the whole world at the same time. But I knew the emotional impact was going to be really was going to be great. So. So I’m glad that one of the side effects, even though I’m sorry that we’ve all suffered through that, is that we’re we’re hopefully paying more attention to how important this skill is and that we’re finally going to put some time and resource on it.
Speaker2: [00:15:33] I got to believe that that experience has made you or helped to make you incredibly resilient. And you know, as an entrepreneur myself, resiliency seems to be such an important part of equipping yourself to genuinely serve. Yeah.
Speaker1: [00:15:51] For sure. And, you know, there’s so many themes. I mean, it’s ironic that I lived a version of my mother’s story. I mean, I fortunately did not suffer from depression going through the issues that I faced physically. It was quite a haul. It was a ten year really long haul. And it’s a lifelong endeavor to continue to be, you know, do the things I like to do because things like this are managed, not ever cured. But but I was you know, people would say to me, you look great. And I was in like nine level pain on a scale of 1 to 10. And and what I realized is that people who even loved and care about me and knew what was going on, I had a spinal injury. And that’s a mystery to most people. So that was pain that was not seen. So the inability to empathize with really what that was like and not want to just kind of soothe me by saying, you know, are you okay? Are you okay or is it going to be better? I realize that this is also the absence of the skill, and we expect people to just be empathetic rather than helping them learn how to be empathetic. And I believe that listening leads to empathy, not you show up in our empathetic and then you know how to listen. So I think we have that backwards as well. And that experience definitely taught me that as well as, like you said, how to be how to be resilient, as did a lot of sports. I’m grateful for my early athletics because I think that that that helped a lot, too.
Speaker2: [00:17:19] That’s interesting and helpful. The sequence of listening, producing or leading to empathy as as opposed to trying to practice empathy. And then you’ll you’ll be a better listener man. You learn so much getting if you if you want to learn and you want to meet some interesting people, get yourself a get yourself a radio show. This is great. No, that’s that’s helpful. It’s informative and inspiring. And it makes me feel like like I have a path, if you will. Like there’s something I can do to get better at being empathetic and and that kind of thing. I must confess, one of the things that I have caught myself doing, particularly in in a sales and marketing conversation, where where I’m trying to help someone have their own radio show, right? Like, I’ll sell them a custom radio show. And I have found myself not really listening, but I think a more appropriate word would be waiting. Like I’m not really listening to what they’re saying. I’m waiting for them to finish so I can make my next point. Do you see that a lot?
Speaker1: [00:18:26] It’s problem solving and is really what you’re describing. You know what that radio show can do for them. If I get you, you know, the impact it can have. And so you see and what we call the the story, the new beginning, where that that can take them in the story. Right. Stories have different parts. They have a beginning, a struggle, a tipping point or an ending and what we call a new beginning. And on that path, you can already see where they need to go. They’re not there yet. So you’re in waiting to respond to get them to that new beginning. They’re still back at the struggle and the beginning of their story, So we tend to rush that along because we want to be helpful, We want to solve problems, but we what we believe is that you need to earn the right and the best way to earn the right is to really make sure they feel very much understood before you dare to try to get them to that new beginning. And so listening to understand again effectively and efficiently is important and that that helps you sell more effectively and also slows you down so that you’re not waiting to respond.
Speaker2: [00:19:33] Well, you’re being very gracious about what I’m identifying as a shortcoming, but that’s helpful, right? At least my I guess my motives are pure. Right. And other people’s as well. But it’s an easy trap to fall into, or at least I. I find it so. So as you’ve gone along this path of serving people in this way, have you had the benefit of one or more mentors to sort of help you navigate this terrain of being an author, a speaker, a consultant, a coach?
Speaker1: [00:20:03] Yeah, I you know, as I said, just one of the people I’m grateful for is Patrick, in terms of just I mean, writing a book and a lot of people have this goal, so I want to share this for them as well, because it’s when you have the right when you know the right decisions to make and somebody lays it out for you, it’s a lot easier. So so I’m grateful for that. But but yeah, I think, you know, my father was an entrepreneur. He started his own business in out of our home at at when I was six. And so watching him develop a business and sell and those ups and downs, he indirectly because he shared so much about business, mentor me so much throughout his lifetime, watching his discipline, watching his efforts, watching how he connected with clients. So he was probably my father passed away last December of 21. He was 89. So so he was he was a huge influence in my entrepreneurship. I was actually more forced into it based on my injury because I was stubborn. I wanted to work even though I couldn’t really sit do the grind. But yeah, as well as a lot of great coaches and friends and people that, you know, it takes a village to support people and to help them be successful. So I’m grateful for that as well.
Speaker2: [00:21:19] So what’s next for you? Do you envision and I know you mentioned people that asked you about more books or, I don’t know, maybe licensing the the Christine Miles methodology to other practitioners or what’s on the horizon for you?
Speaker1: [00:21:33] Well, you’re two things, primarily on the horizon. And just that is that because we’re a mission driven company and we want to create a movement, that’s exactly what we want to do. We want to arm organizations that they don’t have to rely on us, but they can use the framework. So, so so that’s that’s ready. And we’re we’re working with organizations. We have one that we’re delivering to this year and they may license for next year. So this is this is part of the endeavor. The second thing, and they go hand in hand with both that mission to arm organizations as well as to arm schools, is that we’ve developed the Listening Path game. So it’s it’s in the facilitators version. Our goal is by the end of this year to have both a school and home version so that you can connect and learn with your family or at school to listen differently from a younger age. So so we’re really, really excited about that. It’s not ready for home version yet. It’s only ready for the customers that we serve. But we’re it’s it’s already made a big difference and we’re really excited.
Speaker2: [00:22:37] Well, I bet it has. It sounds marvelous. I can envision a facilitator using a tool like that that could really help bring everyone along, learn from each other. That’s that’s exciting. Well, maybe we’d do this again when you when you go with that with that launch and we’ll get caught up on your activities and talk about that a little bit.
Speaker1: [00:22:59] Well, I’d appreciate that. Just I mean, one of the things, because I’m a competitive person as an athlete, but this is a game of this is a game of understanding, not a game of winning is the tagline, because I think the only place people don’t like to lose is in relationships. And that’s the other thing about listening. Listening too much and talking is too much about Win Lose. And that’s the other part of what we need to shift. So I would love to come back and I appreciate that.
Speaker2: [00:23:24] Yeah, we’ll make. That happened. Okay, before we wrap, I would love to leave our listeners with maybe a couple of actionable pro tips, you know, maybe some do’s or don’ts, what we should be reading, I don’t know. Maybe a couple of items from a from a page out of the book. Just something we could be thinking about reading, doing, not doing.
Speaker1: [00:23:46] Okay. Yeah. So so first of all, as I said, you can identify you can’t solve a problem you don’t know you have. So make the checklist personally and professionally. What are two things it’s costing you not to listen? Well, professionally, What are the costs? Personally? What are the costs? I guarantee either there and and then decide what the priorities are. So that’s the first step. You have to you have to know you have a problem before you try to solve it. One of the one of the simplest things I can tell you that’s actionable right away, and this is just part of one of the tools. There are six major tools on the listening path, and one of those is called the Compass. And there are the six most powerful questions that enable you to guide the conversation without you or the teller metaphorically getting lost in the conversational woods. And the inclination, as you said, Stone, is to just kind of wait to respond. And so when you respond, instead of telling and not just you, but your audience, I encourage you to use one of those six most powerful questions. And one of those is Tell me more. So when you feel like saying something instead of doing that, just simply say, tell me more. When you do that, you will be amazed what people will tell you.
Speaker2: [00:25:00] Man. What marvelous counsel. All right, What’s the best way for our listeners to tap into your work? Maybe have a conversation with you or someone on your team? I want to make sure they can access this book, so whatever you feel like is appropriate and helpful in terms of your URLs, website, email, LinkedIn, whatever you think is most productive.
Speaker1: [00:25:21] Well, I’m just going to go for it because I put this in the book as well. The easiest way to contact me is to call, call or text me on my cell. 4842521593. When you Google my name in the book, the the book will come up in every format on Amazon. The website is equipped e q ip t people.com. That’s another way and you can reach out via the website as well. But don’t hesitate to to reach out to directly. If you’re interested in learning more, I’d be happy to talk to your listeners.
Speaker2: [00:25:55] Well, Christine, it has been an absolute delight having you on the show. Thanks for sharing your insight and your perspective. It’s been an informative and inspiring conversation and I’m quite sincere. I’d like to circle back around and talk again when the when the timing is appropriate. But thank you for for being on the show and sharing your insights.
Speaker1: [00:26:20] Well, thank you and I appreciate all the questions. They were very meaningful ones.
Speaker2: [00:26:26] Absolutely. My pleasure. All right. Until next time, this is Stone Payton for our guest today, Christine Myles and everyone here at the Business RadioX family saying we’ll see you in the fast lane.