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Listen to the inner person


Techniques Listening > Listen to the inner person

Needs | Beliefs | Values | Goals | Emotional intelligence | Preferences | See also


Listening to the inner person means listening for specific signals within what they say and do that indicate their deeper motivations.


Listen to their needs, including statements they make about themselves, about safety, about belonging, etc. Listen to needs, wants and likes.

For example, if they say 'I like working here' then this is a statement about belonging.

Beliefs and models

Listen for beliefs, assumptions and other leaps. Listen for assertions of truth that the make. Watch for their reactions to the ideas of others.

For example, if they say 'This will make it work' then they are making assumptions about how things work.


Listen for ‘musts’, ‘shoulds’ etc. that indicate their values. Listen for judgment, especially of others.

For example, if they say 'That is wrong' then this indicates that they have a right-wrong value about this domain.


Listen to what is being done and seek to find the stated goal that is driving action. Distinguish goals from needs: goals are set to achieve needs.

For example, if they say 'I am going to visit RHR tomorrow'  then ask what purpose that visit will achieve and what objective or goal will be achieved by the visit.

Emotional intelligence

Listen for their level of emotional intelligence, for example in whether they just react or are aware of and control their own emotions. Their level or emotional control may be evident in speech, whether it is lack of control, over-control or comfortable acceptance.

For example, if they say in a reasonably level tone 'I feel annoyed by that' they are demonstrating awareness of their emotions and also control.


Look for the preferences and biases that they show. For example, if they say 'Let's look at the big picture' then this may indicate a preference for ideas and large-chunk viewpoint rather than diving into the tactical detail.

See also



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