New Book for Salespeople


Perfect Phrases for Sales Presentations

Linda Eve Diamond, McGraw-Hill, NY, December 2009

Perfect Phrases for Sales Presentations
not only offers hundreds of ready-to-use phrases and includes a section showing how to create perfect phrases—this phrase book also stresses the fact that to be a great salesperson one must be a great listener!

A chapter dedicated to listening includes phrases that encourage prospects to share pertinent information, ask questions, and express objections—all of which are critical to making the sale.

While offering perfect phrases, the book reminds readers:

  1. You cannot choose or create the prefect phrase for any situation without first listening carefully.
  2. The best phrase in the world will be ineffective coming from a salesperson who fails to listen.

Perfect phrases can, without a doubt, make the sale. Remember, though, that there is a yin and yang to sales, a necessary balance, as there is with everything. Be brilliant with your words, but also in your silence. Forget your basic ABC advice to always be closing. When selling, remember ABL: always be listening.

Special Section—Your Perfect Phrases!
Beyond offering Perfect Phrases, this book is the first in the series to include a chapter on creating your own perfect phrases!

And Emphasis on Listening
FROM THE BOOK: “Of course, listening involves putting aside even your most brilliant phrases long enough to hear the prospect’s interests and concerns;you also can use phrases to encourage speaking and show that you’re listening and to ask and encourage questions.”

Click here to read more about the book at the author’s Website.
Click here to read the book’s initial press release.



By Linda Eve Diamond

This holiday season, you are invited to participate in a Thanks Giving Listening. Who do you know who would benefit from a deep expression of your gratitude? Ask that person to give you the gift of listening to you, then use that setting to express your gratitude for the listener. This gives the listener the opportunity to put deep, focused attention on hearing nothing but statements of appreciation.

A Thanks Giving Listening is a time when the speaker and listener engage for the purpose of the speaker expressing gratitude and appreciation for the listener.

The Goal is to make someone feel appreciated, cared about, and recognized for positive efforts and impacts, large and small. You can make a loved one feel the depth of your appreciation—deepen friendships—let your neighbor know what it means to you to see a friendly smile at the end of the day and how much you appreciate any kind offers or gestures over the years—tell people with whom you have troubled relationships what they’ve done right and what you appreciate—let coworkers know how much you value the good advice and the extra help and even the silly jokes. Think of anything and everything for which you can say Thank you. A loved one may feel closer than ever, and someone who might feel especially alone as the holidays approaches may feel just a little more valued and connected with the world than they did before. This Thanks Giving Listening can be a powerful experience, especially for someone who doesn’t fully realize the positive impact that he or she has others.

The Process: Ask someone to listen to you, and say that it’s important. Then express your gratitude and appreciation for the little things they do, the times they’ve been there for you, or the blessing that they are in your life. You can do this simply, in a moment, or follow the five-step process below for an even deeper connection.

  1. Write down everything that you want to remember to say. In fact, you may think of more while writing.
  2. Say, “I have some things I want to say to you, and I’d really like your focused attention. They’re all good things. What would be a good time for us to sit down together?
  3. Sit face-to-face in a quiet, peaceful space. Begin by saying that you have something say, and make clear that it’s all positive. Ask the listener to listen to the end, then say, “I feel grateful to you and want to thank you for...” Then tell them all the things on your list for which you feel grateful. If more comes to you as you speak, don’t hold back.
  4. Optional: Present the list in written form that can be saved and savored.
  5. Thank the listener for listening and allowing you to express your gratitude.

If you can’t sit face-to-face, talk on the phone. If conversations are tense and a letter would be more easily received, start with a letter. The most important thing is for the listener to feel appreciated.

As always, please feel free to comment here—any thoughts of gratitude or listening you’d like to share—and if you participate in A Thanks Giving Listening, I’d love to hear about it.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for listening.

In This Case, No One Was Listening

By Linda Eve Diamond

Sometimes, when a jury finds the defendant guilty, the defense attorney will poll the jury, ask them one by one to ensure that their decision is truly unanimous, that no one has just gone along with the crowd. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes a juror will not be able to stand alone and hold to a verdict that was agreed to but not agreed with. Conscience and consciousness will often rise when one stands apart form the crowd. This is the last line of the defense for an attorney whose client is found guilty.

In a hit and run accident, defense attorney Charles Hamilton pled his case, made his summations, the jury deliberated, and the judge read the verdict: Not guilty. The case is won. This is the moment when most defense attorneys stop talking. In an unprecedented case, Hamilton asked to poll the jury. No one seems to know why. Maybe he wasn’t listening and didn’t hear the word, “not,” and maybe he just wasn’t paying any attention or wasn’t in his right mind for some reason only he would know. When polled, the first juror expressed doubt about the verdict, and the closed case was suddenly reopened. The jurors were asked to deliberate again, and they emerged with a different verdict. “Yes, Hamilton seized defeat from the jaws of victory,” explains the Simple Justice Blog by attorney
Scott Greenfield.”

While this story is so strange it’s funny (though not for the accident victim, who suffered injury, or the scared woman who blames the rain), it makes a sad statement about listening. This polling never should have taken place, obviously, but whatever that revealed about the attorney’s competence, it also revealed a frightening fact in the case. These jurors had asked the judge a number of times for clarification on the point of what “unanimous” meant, and they were unable to listen well and process the answer. They thought they had done just what they were supposed to do—most people agreed so the other or others went along—even after being instructed and having the process repeatedly explained. Justice is complicated enough, but when jurors cannot grasp simple instructions, we have a serious justice problem.

Yes, there was a listening hearing in this courtroom, and a case of no one listening. When sentences are served, how often is it that no one was listening?

Whole Listening: The Follow-Up Story

By Linda Eve Diamond

I received some surprising responses after the last blog, “Whole Listening—The Whole Foods Boycott.” Some sent e-mails wondering how I could “side with” or “defend” John Mackey’s political statements, and a few unsubscribed. Readers wrote to me about their personal health issues and the debt they’ve incurred because both insurance and healthcare are unaffordable. I also received facts about the current crisis and the effectiveness of boycotts. Then there were stronger statements, which seemed to be a small echo of the kind of reactionary response to Mackey that initially sparked the blog. However, my blog never took a side on the political issue; it was an observation about respectful discourse and the way that we have come to completely disregard individuals on the “other side,” blanketly refusing to listen to them on any topic.

I feel for—
and can identify with—everyone who wrote about difficulties with the current system; many of my beliefs and struggles are the same, and my political views happen to be on the opposite end of the spectrum from John Mackey’s. But whether or not we choose to listen to (or agree with) Mackey’s healthcare policy views, I see problems with demonizing him for his political point of view, shutting out his statements about healthy foods, and boycotting his stores because of his personal perspective. One of the e-mails I received made this statement about John Mackey: “He has just launched a campaign to defeat a single payer national health insurance system."  I don't know of any such campaign.  He wrote an op-ed piece.

Shouldn’t we listen carefully before launching or participating in a boycott campaign or spreading “news” that may be a product of emotional responses? I think fear is the emotion closest to the heart of these responses. It’s hard to listen when so many of us are struggling every day with so many crises threatening the welfare of our families—illness, epidemics, chronic health problems, debt, unaffordable health care costs and unaffordable insurance—no wonder it’s hard to hear when these issues come up. The blood is pumping in our ears, and our minds are racing with the worst-case-scenarios about how dangerous it would be if someone listened to this “other side” and things got worse. But we cannot begin to make things better if we don’t remember that the world is not black and white, few people are all good or all evil, we cannot trust everything we hear just because it comes from a source that’s on one “side” or the other, and no progress can be made if we don’t learn to take a long, deep breath—and listen.


Whole Listening — The Whole Foods Boycott

By Linda Eve Diamond

If you’ve been listening—
really listening—to the controversy over John Mackey’s op-ed piece that was published in the Wall Street Journal, “The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare,” (August 11, 2009) you may be concerned about the angry backlash and Whole Foods boycotts. I know I am.


Some people may have been ready to stop listening and boycott as soon as they read the headline: “Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare.” While that may sound inflammatory, it’s a headline, not a quote. Newspapers rarely use headlines as submitted. The tone of a headline should not be attributed to the contributor, as it is usually written by an editor whose focus is more on capturing the reader’s attention than the writer’s tone. The original article was simply called, “Health Care Reform.”

If you were bold enough to read on, you would have found eight thoughtfully posed ideas for healthcare reform. Maybe you would have agreed, and maybe not. You might have been infuriated by some of his suggestions or his belief that healthcare is a service, not a right. People are not only vilifying him for his views, but asking,
How can he say such a thing? and Why should Mackey comment, anyway? But why shouldn’t he comment? He says, in fact, he wrote the piece “in answer to President Obama’s invitation to all Americans to put forward constructive ideas for reforming our health care system.”


If John Mackey were a policy maker, I’d say you might reasonably become emotional about his views, as they could in some immediate way, change your life. But he’s not a policy maker; he’s a businessman. He’s also not creating policy
or denying his employees healthcare, but expressing his personal, political views in an open, honest way. Why should anyone be afraid to express a political view—on either side?

Political parties have beaten each other, and all of us, so raw that we have become a purely reactionary culture. People used to engage in civilized debate. Now any statement from the “other side” is taken as if it’s an attack on the very foundations of our being. When someone’s point of view differs from our own (which we know, of course, is righteous and good) we shout that person down, call names, and spread the warning that evil is lurking. We think we must take action—create a counter-group, host boycotts, speak out against speaking out—because we should be free to speak out that speaking out is wrong.
Boycotts are popular, but the reality is that we cannot change or influence policy by boycotting companies for the political views of their founders. Are we really fighting for a cause, or are we just lashing out because someone said something we didn’t like in attempting to participate in an open exchange of ideas?


Even more shocking was that Mackey raised another issue, one directly related to the mission and direction of Whole Foods, but nutrition expert, Jeff Novick, couldn’t even discuss it without being barraged by hostile, political comments. One of Mackey’s points in the article about the health care system was the importance of personal responsibility for health, pointing out that most of the diseases in our country today result from lifestyle choices. In a more in-depth article on that issue,
Frank Talk from Whole Foods’ John Mackey (August 4), Mackey shared the fact that he had lost weight and lowered his cholesterol and learned that olive oil wasn’t healthful, after all. He also acknowledged that his store had taken a wrong turn, and he talked about a plan for educating consumers and creating more health-centered stores: “We sell all kinds of candy. We sell a bunch of junk. There will be someone in a kiosk to answer questions, they'll have cookbooks and health books, there will be some cooking classes. It will be about how to select food, because people don't know."

This was big news to Novick, a nutrition expert whose goal is to educate people so that they
can take personal responsibility for their health. Novick has been working for decades to help people see through food industry deceptions (from “health” and diet fads to tricky food labels), and the false sense of security people feel when shopping in health food stores, all of which have contributed to our current health crises. To Novick, Mackey’s health revelations and comments about Whole Foods “junk” were exciting, even groundbreaking, and he was eager to share the news online. Sadly, many reader posts only commented on Mackey’s political views. Novick, who works with Dr. John McDougall, was especially excited about the timing of the remarks as Mackey was scheduled as the keynote speaker at an upcoming McDougall Advanced Study Weekend. Not only did a number of people say they wouldn’t attend a weekend where Mackey was speaking because of his ideas about health care reform (even though that wasn’t his topic), several questioned Novick’s politics and removed themselves from his forums.

Novick repeatedly stressed that the political views Mackey discussed were separate issues and that this is a forum on health, but they wouldn’t (or couldn’t) listen and stay on point. All they could listen for was a way to tie the new information in with their already formed agenda—or to simply say that they’re shocked Novick would listen to Mackey after the views he expressed in the
WSJ. The positive message—the one that actually relates to Mackey’s business and could impact the industry and his customers—could not be heard. They had already decided to boycott, so why listen?


Should we boycott Whole Foods or boycott rash boycotts? In response to Mackey’s remarks and in the name of ethics and human rights, people express a desire to drive Whole Foods out of business. Do we really want to live in a country where a business would be potentially jeopardized by mass boycotts for a citizen expressing his political views? If you really listen, it’s scary.

To read the original article, “Health Care Reform—Full Article,” as submitted, visit John Mackey’s blog. You might also be interested to read Frank Talk from Whole Foods’ John Mackey.


Should Children Listen? - The Obama Speech Controversy

By Linda Eve Diamond

Are you listening
to the uproar over the speech President Obama plans to broadcast to children on Tuesday? Many schools are choosing not to show the speech, and many parents whose children’s teachers plan to show the speech intend to keep their children home.

I’m amazed by the comments of politicians, reporters and parents who say that President Obama’s plan is to promote to children (also referred to as “brainwashing” or “indoctrinating” them) his “socialist agenda.” Statements go so far as to say that addressing children during school hours, with optional study material provided for teachers, is reminiscent of both communist and totalitarian governments.

Let’s turn down the radios and shut out the noise from our parties. When emotion rises up instantaneously, when people are shouting in our ears before we have a chance to think, we cannot possibly hear the facts or put them into a reasonable context. What’s really happening in this moment in history? What’s happened to listening, and how does this take it to yet another level? Here are a few points that seem to be overlooked by those advocating a boycott of the speech:

  • As Sandra Abrevaya, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, says: “This isn’t a policy speech. It’s designed to encourage kids to stay in school.”
  • In 1988, President Reagan spoke to students nationwide via C-SPAN telecast. He talked about his positions on political issues of the day.
  • In both 1989 and 1991 President Bush addressed children during school hours. According to reports, he discussed his political issues. He also spoke about the idea among kids that it wasn’t cool to be smart. He was quoted as having told students to “block out the kids who think it’s not cool to be smart” and to “work harder, learn more.”
  • We teach history and social studies in schools. We do not always agree with the speeches taught or the way a former president’s policies are taught or characterized; we don’t even know every detail of what children are told, as we do with a televised speech.
  • A speech from the President of the United states to children is a lesson that gives them a more immediate sense of place and connection in the world than most every-day lessons could.
  • Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, says that Obama will "challenge students to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens."

Do we really want to teach our kids not to listen to someone whose views might be different? Yes, parents want to teach children from their own sets of values and points of view, but is the ideal really to teach children that they should be exempt from listening to others? No one—Obama included— should be the sole, unquestioned moral compass and source of information for the nation’s children. But is that really what’s at stake? Should we really be so afraid of ideas?

Chris Stigall, a Kansas City talk show host actually said, “I wouldn’t let my next-door neighbor talk to my kid alone; I’m sure as hell not letting Barack Obama talk to him alone,” as if hearing the words of the President could actually be dangerous and potentially scarring. This is a publicly broadcast speech that will be followed by classroom discussion and, ideally, discussion at home. The speech is not at all private, and parents will have access to the full transcript of the speech on Monday.

For the sake of argument, let’s say the President discusses politics or inspires a sense of civic duty that doesn’t align with your political views? Do any such statements warrant and “exemption” from listening? Or are they incredible opportunities for teaching children to listen with an open mind and even listen critically, discussing what they hear and formulating opinions? It’s bad enough that we are modeling a society of not listening, but why would anyone want to actively teach children that listening to an opposing view is bad, even dangerous, and the potential of it should keep them home from school? How many schoolchildren will be kept home from this epidemic, this illness of intolerance and closed-mindedness?

I remember reading the New York Times in school in the 6th grade. Not all parents agreed with the President or the Times, but no one was exempt from participating. We learned about what was happening in the country, right or wrong. But, again, Obama’s stated intention is to inspire children, to speak to them about the importance of education, personal responsibility, persistence and goal setting. He also plans to speak to them about what it means to be a citizen. If any parents disagree, certainly their views will have more air time with their children than Obama, and no child can or should be entirely sheltered from other points of view. Older kids are exposed to every view in the world already. As always, parents should be discussing their perspectives with children, and a speech by the President is a great place to start—or continue.

“We’ve reached a little bit of a silly season when the president of the United States can’t tell kids to study hard and stay in school,” said Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary. I couldn’t agree more. Isn’t it time for a change of season? How about a season of reason?

I hope that teachers and parents will choose to watch this speech with children and encourage them to listen carefully, think freely, and share in open discussions and debates.


The speech will be broadcast live on the White House Web site ( and on C-SPAN at 12:00 p.m., ET. For more information about the speech, including FAQ answers and downloads of the suggested classroom materials, visit



Free Listening Surveys

RULE #1: STOP TALKING! A Guide to Listening offers a unique set of listening surveys.  For the first time, these surveys are available as free downloads.

The book includes both a Self-Assessment a second assessment “Questions of Perception,” to be filled out by someone in the reader’s work or home life.  The “Questions of Perception,” helps readers see how others perceive their listening skills.  While the questions are basic, these listening surveys are telling. Additionally, a set of 3-4 question Mini Assessments offers an alternative form or a brief way to follow- up from time to time. 

In the PDF below, you will find the following:
  • A brief description of the Rule #1: Stop Talking! listening skills assessments
  • The Rule #1: Stop Talking! “Self-Assessment”
  • The Rule #1: Stop Talking! “Questions of Perception” Assessment
  • Assessment Results
  • The Rule #1: Stop Talking! “Mini Self-Assessment”
  • The Rule #1: Stop Talking! “Mini Questions of Perception” Assessment

To download the complete set of Rule #1: Stop Talking! surveys, click:
Diamond Listening Assessments.pdf


March is International Listening Awareness Month