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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

The Big 'So What?'

So what are we listening for? While we'll get into this more in the next chapter, here are a few hints up front.

  1. Pay attention to anything that the person you're interviewing has chosen to complain about. Remember the comment in the introduction about how, in any situation, you have to choose whether you're going to complain or create. If someone's chosen to complain about something, it could be because that person feels powerless to create a better solution or situation. What could you create that would take away the complaint?

  2. Look for ideas that are antithetical to each other. For instance, someone might tell you in one breath, 'I want to be healthier,' and in the next, 'I don't want to change any of my habits.' The friction between those two ideas held by the same person is the potential energy for innovation.

  3. Notice dis-coherencies, that is, things that are not coherent with each other. For instance, get really interested when someone is a very controlled person in almost every detail of his life but is wild in one particular area. Ask lots of questions about what's going on there. I've gone shopping with moms who are putting Pop-Tarts into the cart, while at the same time telling me that they're concerned about the amount of sugar their kids consume. It's fascinating to hear them talk about that incongruity. For many, their real concern is getting their kid to eat something (anything) before the child leaves for school. It's the lesser-of-two-evils choice. Aaaahhhhh, could there be an opportunity to create a breakfast product that kids will actually eat that gives them some protein so that they can concentrate longer at school?


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