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Most people don't ask questions, they make assumptions. If you don't know exactly what a person means, ask. Open-ended, probing questions, like who, what, why, where, which and how, will get you answers, Sharp says. Remember, a person can lose an order from talking too much, but no one ever loses a sale from listening too much.

Do you always practice what you post on your site?

Thanks for your comment. The answer is yes, I do practice what I post on my site. I'm a human being, and I may not get it right every time. But what you read in my blog is what I believe and practice.

The quote you cite from the article I reprinted is, of course, not me speaking, but a sales person. And he is clearly not speaking about conversing with superiors, he is speaking about conversing with customers. He's talking about the importance of listening and absorbing information. That's the context of the quote in the article.

My message, following on the important points made in the article, is "So stop thinking and listen. I do this all the time. If I miss something because I drift away for a moment, I ask politely for it to be repeated so I'm sure I've got it. What you think when your boss is addressing you is of little importance. When asked what you think about some assignment or criticism you receive, you should respond by complimenting your boss on his/her insight and wisdom, and say you'll go right into action as directed because you're on the team, and that if you have any questions, you'll stop by for elaboration. Never give away your true feelings during a meeting with the boss unless you truly don't give a shit about your job, or he's your father."

I'm about helping you survive and prosper in the media jungle. I want you to use this information to help you manage your managers.

Have I always practiced what I post on my site? Certainly not. The theories and techniques that I have analyzed and quantified are built on a lifetime of experience, with many mistakes made along the way. Many of my career story entries yet to come will be stories of problematic situations I've been in, and how I managed them.

In closing, I will say that as a manager, I have always followed the quote you cited. I wasn't selling products, I was selling the concept of the show or project I was running to subordinates, to ensure that it was executed in the manner I desired. I have always engaged in conversation until I was certain that I understood where my subordinate stood, and they understood what I was assigning them to do for me.


Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

- Carl Jung

Regarding "Boss Talk, You Listen" ... good advice, unless you have an ABUSIVE boss, like I do, who HATES when his subordinates ask him questions. The man is obtuse and vague, and God help you if you don't understand EXACTLY what he's thinking when he puts "STOP/START VO SOT VO AM PKG" in the production column of the rundown ... or if there are several directions you can take on a given story and you ask him what he wants ... he WILL rip you a new a-hole IN FRONT OF EVERYONE ELSE as he dresses you down for being a STUPID, lazy-assed, UNION writer who has no business being in television news.

Culture of fear. Black cloud. Toxic work environment. TOO many questions make things worse.


I work in a Toxic work environment....The Administrator creates animosity between co-workers by misinterperting and misunderstanding innocent comments made, when in training you are not to act as if you know anything or you are a no-it-all but if you ask questions you are wasting their valuable time having to expain it to you. Theres no winning for the employee in this case....The administrator then refuses to listen to any explanation and threatens people with thier jobs....I understand that she carries a heavy load but none heavier then the frontline workers who maintain the quality of the facilty. I have been told by even my Union reps that this is how this woman works she creates fear in her workers to see how long it will take them to crack! How are people suppose to work under these conditions but then again how can they afford not to!


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