Listening Deeply and Getting Things Done

Richard Branson

Lesson time 10:00 min

It all starts with a notebook, a pen, and your ears. Richard shares what it really means to listen deeply, and gives an exclusive look into his notebooks—the organizing foundation of how he keeps his businesses running at a high standard.

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Topics include: It all starts with a notebook, a pen, and your ears. Richard shares what it really means to listen deeply, and gives an exclusive look into his notebooks, which are the organizing foundation of how he keeps his businesses running at a high standard and making the most out of your time.


[MUSIC PLAYING] RICHARD BRANSON: Yeah, well, for four years, I was effectively an editor of a magazine and a journalist and somebody that was out talking to people and listening to people, and I learned-- I learnt so much from that. I mean, I really think I learned all that was going on in the world. A good listener is somebody who's truly listening, who may well be taking notes, somebody's saying something particularly relevant, who's absorbing everything that somebody is saying, and then response at the end but in a short, concise way. [MUSIC PLAYING] I mean, the elders that were formed to try to deal with global issues. You know, it's incredible to see all these Nobel laureates sitting around not interrupting each other, listening to each other, and only speaking when they've got something really useful to add. And none of them, you know, just wanting to hear the sound of their voice. And I think that's why they've become elders. They've become great people. I mean, your brain already knows what you think, so you don't need to hear it all the time. You know, whereas if you spend your time actually, you know, listening to people, you're going to be learning and learning and learning all the time. You know, if I'm, say, doing a question and answer session with a group of people, they'll answer-- ask me a question, and at the end of the answer, I will always try to ask them, you know, what they think about their own question. And I think they appreciate the fact that I should show interest and the fact that they ask that question. They almost definitely have a reason for asking that question, and I learn a lot from them answering it and I think everybody else in the room learns a lot. So maybe for the next week, if anybody asks you a question, after you've answered it, ask them back the same question in return and what they think. And I think you'll be surprised how much better the conversation goes. It's also the fact that they asked the-- well, the fact-- the very fact that they ask the question, most likely they're itching to actually tell you what they-- tell you what they think. [MUSIC PLAYING] Taking notes might sound like a mundane thing to do. But all I can say is that I think it's the most-- it's been the most important thing that I've done almost without exception in my life to keep myself organized and to keep myself, you know, pushing forward on the right track in building businesses and respecting the people I have conversations with. Now I think that there's a lot of CEOs and chairmen who feel that having a notebook is beneath them, and they'll walk there-- they'll walk the floors of their company and they'll talk to their customers, the members of staff and customers may feed back information to them. They may remember one or two things, and they may follow through with those. But they won't remember the bulk of the things that people have told them. So if you're in a meeting a...

About the Instructor

Sometimes, making it big is all about following the fun. Ask Richard Branson. The founder of the Virgin Group built a business empire by solving the problems that fascinated him, disrupting every industry he touched, and pursuing dreams that seemed impossible. The adventure took him from humble beginnings to the stars. Learn how you, too, can find ideas so good they’re scary, lean into your fear, and achieve liftoff.

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Richard Branson

Entrepreneur Richard Branson teaches you how to turn your wildest dreams into successful businesses—and have fun doing it.

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