John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog


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LISTEN UP doesn’t just teach you how to network, we look at networking as a science.  You will often hear us talk about bringing the Orchestra. What that means is to remember and use the hundreds of tiny skills required to truly and interpersonally connect with others. The ability to blend the entire compilation of said skills into a flawless presentation of oneself is in itself a skill and one that you very rarely see.

I want you to think about The Cleveland Orchestra. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing them I am sure you will agree they are spectacular. Here the conductor has a wide variety of professionally trained individual musicians that can be brought into the mix. The conductor directs and blends all the different components of the orchestra right down to a single triangle to create a masterpiece. If you have ever studied a conductor in action you will notice how hard they need to concentrate. They are concentrating on every detail in order to make the presentation perfect and it shows.

How do I relate this example to Networking? In order to successfully Network you need to bring the entire, well practiced, perfectly conducted, professional orchestra. You need to not only understand the multitude of skills required you need to practice them. You need to conduct them with energy, style, grace and in a flawless manner.

While networking instead of musicians we conduct people skills that are at our disposal. We have greetings, handshakes, eye contact, energy levels, listening skills, manners, goodbyes and body language that are all being judged by those we come in contact. How we talk, walk, dress and interact with others to name a few are all constantly being perceived and evaluated. Are your interpersonal communication skills polished and ready to go?

Think about it, when was the last time someone WOWED you? The problem is a lot of individuals are giving presentations that sound less like The Cleveland Orchestra and more like a grade school concert band. They are going through the motions but the music is almost unrecognizable. Don’t let that be you… practice, practice, practice.

We have no idea who we will meet today who will change our lives forever. Also realize that everyone we meet is listening both consciously and unconsciously to our inner orchestra. Do we sound sincere, gracious, positive, energetic and optimistic or do we sound negative, insincere, uninterested, bored or self absorbed. My question is what kind of music are others hearing coming from you?

At LISTEN UP we are not teaching rocket science. A lot of what we talk about is common knowledge but it is common knowledge that isn’t common. A lot of people believe they already know how to communicate and network with others. The problem is many people are networking unarmed for the task. They are playing at a grade school level and never even realize it. It is not what you think of your presentation but rather what others think about your presentation that truly matters. We want you to be playing beautiful music and when you talk we want others to LISTEN UP.

About the Author

~Donald Wayne McLeod founded LISTEN UP LLC, an interpersonal communication consulting company, in 2007 after witnessing people’s inability to connect with one another and realizing his unique ability to facilitate them in that regard.  Donald has been featured in Inside-Business Magazine, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The News-Herald, WEWS Channel 5 and WTOE Radio. Donald Wayne McLeod can be reached at, or at 216.210.5420.


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