Thoughts + Articles

3 Ways to Communicate You Are Listening!

Must be personable, empathetic. Understand that your connection is with a human. 

What is everyone asking about you?

1) “Do you care about me?”

2) “Can you help me?”

3) “Can I trust you?”

 (John Maxwell’s 3 questions to connect with others.)

1) “Do you care about me?” 

We have all experienced people who have rolled their eyes at a simple request, making us feel unimportant. On the flip side; Bob Burg shares a story of how a little bit of empathy can go a long way. 

“It was several years ago while I was in the fantastic city of St. Louis, Missouri. After being seated for lunch, the waiter made his initial approach to our table with a bit of an…attitude. He was coldly polite and acted as if he’d rather not be there at all. One could say he literally looked “pained” to even be there.”

“And, indeed, he literally was, as indicated by his pronounced limp as he walked away. So, when he came back, my friend and colleague Dixie Gillaspie — kind and thoughtful as she always is — acknowledged his obvious discomfort and asked what happened.”

“He explained that he’d been hit by a car and was in fact in extremely significant pain. We didn’t ask him why he was there at work or in any other way pry; we just let him know how badly we felt for him and that we’d try not to bother him too much with needless trips back and forth.”

“You wouldn’t believe (or, maybe you would) how polite, solicitous, and friendly he then became. In fact, he made so many trips over to check up on us that we had to try and keep from getting his attention.”                     

“Dixie simply verbalized her concern and showed him she cared. Not only was she not offended by his attitude, but instead valued him enough as a human being to focus on *his* situation. Consequently, he went above and beyond in trying to please us.”

Burg’s “Key Point: As human beings, we have a need to know that people care about us. And, when people show us they do, even — perhaps especially — with no obligatory reason to, we will go out of our way to make them happy.”

“It’s just another of those “Laws of Life.”

“Think back to when someone has done that for you. Did you feel yourself change in your thoughts and feelings toward them? When you’ve done that for others, what were the results you noticed? I’m guessing it changed them, and that you felt pretty darned good yourself.”

The world does not revolve around you. Challenge yourself to be more empathetic when encountering someone and see what happens. 

2) “Can you help me?”

Everyone desires to have an experience they can rave about. 

Since the dawn of time, people have been writing about solving problems rather than listing the features of their products or services. 

Who would you rather do business with?

·       The broker who tells you about how long his company has been in business, or the broker who assures you that he will help guide you through life to create a comfortable retirement.

·       The dentist who tries to upsell you on every additional service they offer at every visit, or the dentist whose office calls you the evening after a procedure to check in and see how you are doing. 

·       The carpet salesman who just sells you the flooring and installation, or the salesman who stops by on his way home from work to drop off some spot cleaner because he recognized you had a pet and wanted to make sure you were prepared “just in case”.

No one cares what you do. They only care about how you can help them.

3)“Can I trust you?” 

It is no secret that car salesmen do not have a great public perception for trustworthiness. When you get to experience someone, who is an amazing trustworthy salesman, they are legendary. 

My husband and I had the privilege of doing business with the greatest salesman I have ever met. His name was William “Bill” Carwile. Bill possessed a burning passion for helping his customers find the right vehicle for them. He studied cars inside and out, so he could guide you to the right car to fulfill your needs. 

Bill also had great relationships with the service department at his dealership, often buying them lunch and recognizing them for a job well done frequently. Having built that relationship with the service team…if one of his customers had a car break down in the evening or on a Sunday, one of Bill’s trusted technicians would likely be right over to help. 

How did I meet Bill? For the third time in two weeks my 17-year-old Mitsubishi decided to die. I had replaced the battery, the alternator, the regulator and a few more parts and I had had enough. Tidewater AAA Service had told me this was my last time to be towed and they would no longer help me. Three strikes and you are out! 

My dad and several friends had raved about this guy named Bill at the Chrysler/Plymouth dealer. They were all happy with their purchases and considered Bill Carwile their friend and trusted adviser. My husband and I made an appointment with him for the next day.

Bill asked me what I was looking for in a new car.  I wanted something that got good mileage, was comfortable, and was reliable and safe. He showed us 2 or 3 vans, and instead of pressuring us into buying on the spot, he invited us to take the van for the weekend and to let him know what we thought on Monday. 

Over the years we bought many cars and vans from Bill and we also recommended him to all our friends and family members who bought cars from him. Bill has become a close friend over the years and we respected and trusted him as a trusted adviser for all our car needs. He always had a passion for cars and other vehicles and studied them.

As customers and friends, we enjoyed buying our vehicles from Bill Carwile for four reasons. 

1) We immediately liked him and trusted him and he always had a positive attitude.

2) Bill listened to what we wanted and needed in a car, truck , or van and then told us the benefits of each vehicle he thought we would like in our price range. He had the solution to our problem.

3) Bill had such a passion and knowledge of cars, trucks, and vans that he shared with his customers and friends. He knew everything about these vehicles and when he made a promise he would keep it!

William “Bill” Carwile passed away on September 8, 2011. His family, his friends, and his customers were blessed to have known such a wonderful caring person who shared his passion for automobiles with them all these years. 

(I wrote about Bill in a previous article “A Salesman’s Dream”

“In a letter to John Maxwell, Emran Bhojawala introduced him to Lloyd, a car salesman in the Washington, D.C. area, who went above and beyond for Emran. Lloyd proved himself so trustworthy that Emran even purchased a car from Lloyd in D.C., sight unseen, after Emran moved to Minnesota.”

Imran said, “When I wanted to buy a car I didn’t have to worry about anything. I told him my budget and flew to Virginia to pick up a car I had never seen.” 

He “then drove twenty-three hours to get home.”

Imran continues, “Lloyd is THE legend when it comes to selling cars in the area near my school. He does not advertise, and all his business comes from previous customers and references. I think that’s a perfect example of success in connecting with people.”

“Trust is the foundation that makes rapport, communication, and connection possible – it may not be easily built up, but it pays exponential dividends in relational value.” ( John Maxwell Leadership)

Not everything is about the latest tech, latest selling trend or anything else. It is the foundation that everyone sells themselves. 


Madeline Frank, Ph.D., is an Best Selling Author, speaker, business owner, teacher, concert artist, and parent. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Business”. Her observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your business successful. Her latest book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available everywhere books are sold. If you need a virtual speaker contact Madeline at:


This entry was posted on Monday, October 2nd, 2023 at 1:06 am and is filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Back To Top