by Terence Baker | May 01, 2004

Book cover: Communicate or DieJust when you are burning to say something, listen for one more minute. That’s one tip offered by Thomas D. Zweifel, Ph.D., CEO of New York City-based Swiss Consulting Group (, which teaches communication techniques at companies such as Citibank, Merrill Lynch and Siemens.
    Zweifel, author of Communicate or Die: Getting Results Through Speaking and Listening (Select Books), points to seven levels of listening, ranging from “ignoring” to acknowledging the worth of another’s comments. He offers the following advice for masterful communication.

Repeat what is said and take notes. This allows you to be present inside, rather than outside, the conversation.

Focus on the message. You risk missing what is said if you fixate on things like the speaker’s nervousness or poor diction.

Keep an open mind. Zweifel says putting aside one’s own assumptions and beliefs often is the most difficult trick to learn.

Put evaluating on hold. In other words, don’t judge.