What the Deceased Can Teach Us About Listening

Clarke’s session at Amplify Convention will focus on what she calls attentive listening — you can learn more about Amplify and register online.

Amplify speaker Allison Clarke once went to 30 funerals in 60 days.

“I joined the National Speakers Association and there was all this peer pressure to be a published author,” she laughed. But she didn’t want to pen a generic book of business leadership stories.

Instead she went to the funerals of exceptional strangers — from a basketball fan to a 104-year-old Austrian immigrant — and listened to the stories their loved ones told about them. “I’d get to see the true impact of these people,” Clarke said. “From every funeral I’d ask, what one thing did that person do?”

From sharing recipes to making people laugh to dropping everything to spend time with friends, Clarke noticed that the things people most appreciated about their departed loved ones nearly always involved moments of real human connection.

The lessons from her funeral-hopping became the book “What Will They Say?,” which was published in 2012 by Wheatmark. Clarke has incorporated these same lessons into her corporate consulting and coaching, and will bring them to her breakout session at Amplify Convention, which will take place October 7-9 in Spokane.

Clarke’s session will focus on what she calls attentive listening. “Listening is a lost art,” she said.

“Everywhere people go they carry around their own personal billboard,” said Clarke. “Your body language gives a lot of signs of whether you’re really connecting.”

She says there are eight different aspects to how each of us communicate, and that minor adjustments to those eight things will not only make you look like you’re really engaged and listening, but will help you listen better.

Listening, she said, is foundational to building human connection. And in the business world, we refer people to professionals and businesses that we feel connected to. “It’s all about word of mouth,” she said.

“There’s so much competition,” said Clark. “If you can remember someone’s name or think to send them a card — simple things that just aren’t done anymore — it can give you a competitive edge in a competitive world.”

Clarke spent 16 years as a trainer with the Dale Carnegie Corporation teaching people how to communicate and connect, and teaching other trainers how to teach these things as a Top 25 Master Trainer for the company.

Four years ago she started her own consulting business and has since worked with Intel, Nike, and Fred Meyer, among many other clients.

You can learn more about Clarke’s session and register for Amplify Convention online.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

Posted in Events, MAXX Annual Convention, NWCUA.