The Thoughts of a Commuterholic

09 July 2019

I have a long commute. I drive over 30,000 miles a year on business. My car is more than just a car. Reframe for a second and the modern car can be redefined as a business tool. How? Using the car’s smart technology such as Apple Car Play and voice control I have ability to make notes and construct emails. I can be productive on the move! 


However, there is a greater prize to be won. The time in your car can be used to broaden your mind. My best friend are my podcasts! During my daily 3+ hour daily commute I listen, engage and immerse myself into a vast array of Podcasts. By the time I reach my office I have invested in myself. Add my 5:30am early morning run and before I have log onto my computer in the office, I have invested in both my intellect and my physical wellbeing!

And my favorite podcast? It must be Consulting Success Podcast! This podcast dives deep into growing a highly profitable and successful consulting business. Each episode has golden nuggets of advice for those of us in leadership and management.

One particular episode is etched on my mind - The Secret Power Of Listening with Oscar Trimboli: Podcast #89 . This particular podcast challenged me, because am I really listening? Read the following extract from the transcript of the podcast:

“The one thing I would say is to take this away from this podcast. If you are going to write down one thing, it will be this. If you were going to remember one thing, it would be this. If you’re going to apply one thing, it would be this. It’s the 125-900 rule. We speak at 125 words a minute, but we think at 900 words a minute. If you’re a consultant and you’re sitting across the desk from a business owner, what they say 125 words the first time is not what they’re thinking. They’ve got 900 words in their head and they can only say it at 125 words a minute. If they’ve got a Master’s or a PhD, it’s highly likely that’s up to 1,500 words a minute stuck in their head. One divided by nine is an 11% chance that what they’re saying is what they’re thinking.

I don’t know about you, but if I went to a doctor and said, “I need surgery,” and they gave me an 11% chance of success in surgery, I’d be asking for a second opinion. As consultants, we rarely ask the person we’re speaking to for a second opinion. We rarely use this phrase. If you remember the 125-900 rule, the phrase you want to get good at is asking the simple question, “I’m curious, what else are you thinking about on this topic?” They’ll say these coded words. When you hear these coded words, you’ll be nodding while you’re listening to this. They’ll say things, “What I should have said was, do you know what’s critical, the most important thing we haven’t discussed is.”

Oscar, repeat that for us. The critical words that everyone needs to take away are?

They’ll always need to be prefaced by, “I’m curious what else you’re thinking about this topic.” They’ll draw in a deep breath, you’ll notice they will literally go, “Well, actually,” that’s one of the code words. Another one will be, “Do you know what’s important?” The third one is, “What I haven’t told you that I should have is.” What they’re doing is unpicking those other 800 words that are stuck in their head on that particular topic. Even a washing machine has two rinse cycles to get the dirty suds out of the washing machine. A washing machine for our thinking is our speaking. As we verbalize, we’re cleaning our thinking and the neural pathways in our mind are trying to connect in a way to verbalize the concept.

Most people don’t rehearse what they’re going to say. They’re not actors. They’re not radio announcers. They’re not TV news presenters. We as consultants need to help those people explore their thinking a little bit more. The critical thing I would say for consultants to discover more opportunity to what the barriers to buying are, to discover what the business case will be based on is rarely the first thing they tell you about. The most important thing they’ll say is helping them to explore those other 800 words. When we think about five levels of listening, we’re only talking about that’s an example of level four listening, listening to what’s unsaid. If all you did was spend time to explore what they haven’t said, you’ll sell more, they’ll refer you more and you’ll solve bigger problems for your clients.

Are you challenged? Are you really listening? So, when you’re next on an extended journey in the car, broaden your mind and give a podcast a listen. You’ll never know where the journey will take you!

Carl Andrew CMgr MCMI