Power Tips from Ken Abraham
What does it take to land on the New York Times Bestseller’s list nineteen times, with three books hitting the number one spot?
This is the current record of one of my friends, Ken Abraham. Not too long ago, I sat down with Ken to ask him about his phenomenal success. Ken’s specialty is collaborations. He works with celebrities, politicians, sports heroes and others to tell their stories. He writes authentically in their voice, not his own.
I have known Ken for some years and will tell you a few things that he would never say, but they are characteristics that fuel his success.
Ken is what I call a “power listener.”
1. Know that it is all about you.
Too often we listen faintly as we form another question or clever comment in our mind. We wait for the person to breathe so we can get our point in. Learning to listen well, extraordinarily well, has been a long-term goal of mine. I’m not even close to attaining it. Ken is a master.
Despite Ken’s success, he is one of the most humble people I know. That humility seems to work especially well in his work because Ken is more interested in learning about you than in talking about himself.
“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” –Doug Larson
2. Are able to communicate what they heard accurately.
Good communication is not about saying something. It’s not about the audience hearing it either. It’s when the listener understands your message and can repeat it back. It’s when that person understands the nuances, the emotion, and the content.
Ken’s ability to do this propels him to the top of the world’s greatest listeners. His writing skills are amazing, but I believe it starts with his unique listening skills. He can only capture an accurate and authentic story because of his listening mastery.
3. Stay in the present.
A good listener is not thinking about tomorrow’s to do list or yesterday’s meeting. A good listener is with you, in the moment, practicing the power of now.
When you speak with Ken, you just know he is right there. He is with you in the moment, listening and learning.
“So don’t ever worry about tomorrow. After all, tomorrow will worry about itself.” -Matt 6:34
4. Clarify and repeat.
A good listener often asks questions to understand. They want to make sure that they are seeing it correctly through your eyes, sensing the sights, smells and feelings as you do.
Ken pauses, reflects, and asks clarifying questions. At times, he will repeat back a point to make sure he has it right. That validates that he has listened.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” –Harper Lee
5. Understand the emotional content of a message.
If I listen with my brain, I am able to accurately parrot back facts and figures. If I also listen with my heart, I am able to sense on an emotional level.
Read any of Ken’s collaborations and you will see that he is a master at communicating the emotions behind the story. And that is what makes them so compelling that millions and millions of people read his books. That ability, to me, is the ultimate secret of a power listener.
“Listening is being able to be changed by the other person.” –Alan Alda
This interview will give you a peak into the world of master communicator, Ken Abraham. If you love Ken’s writing, you may also want to read the beautiful story he wrote about his mother’s struggle with dementia. You can read more about his story When Your Parent Becomes Your Child here.