Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

Are you a good listener?

July 2nd, 2014 by Bob Bly

In the 1980s, when Burroughs announced its plan to merge with
fellow computer giant Sperry, they turned to a big NYC ad agency
for help naming the new company.

The ad agency turned to me … and a bunch of other copywriters …
and paid us for name suggestions.

My simple-minded solution, Sperry/Burroughs, was not chosen. Nor
was my alternative: Burroughs/Sperry.

The winner, as some of you may know, was Unisys – and I can’t
say the freelancer who sold that to the agency and its client
earned his fee.

I bring this up because, for reasons unknown, a few years before
the merger, Sperry ran a major corporate ad campaign around the
theme of “listening.”

Although I think the campaign was a dud, the idea of becoming a
good listener is a valuable one.

I will never forget a line in one of their content pieces on
listening: “Remember, you have only one mouth but two ears. So
you should listen twice as much as you talk.”

It’s relevant, because increasingly people ask for my advice
and counsel, and then when I try to give it, constantly talk
over me and never listen to a word I say.

For instance, entrepreneur CM called a few weeks ago asking for
advice on how to market his business.

He did not want to become a paying client. He just wanted to
pick my brain for free.

As is always the case, I said yes, with a line I learned from
speaker Patricia Fripp.

“CM, I charge $500 an hour, but I will give you 5 minutes,
starting now.”

By the way, if you charge $500 an hour, 5 minutes of your time
is a gift worth $41.67 — a nice freebie for a stranger you don’t

So CM told me his marketing idea. But instead of shutting up and
getting the answer, he proceeded to tell me why he was convinced
it was brilliant, his life story, and on and on.

Finally, I said in a loud voice what Charlie on “Its Always
Sunny in Philadelphia” loves to say to talkers: “Stop talking!”

CM stopped, and I said: “CM, you asked me the question. I know
the answer. Can you be quiet and let me tell you the answer?”

Actually, I insisted that he stop talking because (a) my time
is valuable and (b) since he was not paying me, he was wasting
it. And what would be my incentive to allow a non-client to do

The kicker to the story: When I told CM his idea will not work,
he began arguing vehemently. I (figuratively) held up my hand
and said once again:

“Stop. I don’t care what you do. Do what you want. You asked
for advice. I gave it. Five minutes up. Goodbye and good luck.”

Some days it does not pay to get out of bed, but despite that, I
am here at the PC every day by 6am, in case you have something
to ask me.

Only … whether you are a paying client or a freebie … wouldn’t
it make sense to stop talking enough to get my answer?

If you are a paying client, I will gladly debate its merits
until you are comfortable with my explanation and can make an
informed decision about whether to accept my advice.

If you are a freebie seeker on my 5 minute meter, I will not.

Action step: implement Sperry’s 2:1 rule in your life: Listen at
least twice as much as you talk — and you will be well served
whether you are a customer, a vendor, or a moocher.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 at 10:12 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

72 responses about “Are you a good listener?”

  1. Isiah said:

  2. David Shah said:

    Well yes! I talk fairly less and listen more so yea guess I am.

  3. tutu helper for android said:

    Very Interesting and wonderfull information keep sharing

  4. Digitalwhatsup said:

  5. mohammad asif freelance content writer said:

    By the way, if you charge $500 an hour, 5 minutes of your time
    is a gift worth $41.67 — a nice freebie for a stranger you don’t

    So CM told me his marketing idea. But instead of shutting up and
    getting the answer, he proceeded to tell me why he was convinced
    it was brilliant, his life story, and on and on.

  6. Azeem Arshad said:

    The way we arrange, organize, and interact with our apps on Android is called the launcher
    Best launchers Download

  7. TutuApp Apk Download said:

    The reason that this app is not in the play store is that this app is the biggest rival of the google play store which makes it impossible for itself to land it on play store TutuApp Download

  8. Quit Claim Deed said:

    Selling and buying real estate properties involves a variety of legal and financial transactions. These matters become a bit complicated because of legalities. Create a Quit Claim deed For this reason, it involves a number of documents and of course a team of credible legal professionals or representatives.

  9. Happy new year 2019 Quotes said:

    If you are searching for the new Year 2019 HD wallpapers animated pictures or latest pictures related to the Happy new year 2019, then you are on the right place. This is the hub of new year wishes wallpapers new latest animated pictures whatsapp facebook and other social media cover photos.

  10. Xmovies8 Download said:

    Watch Free Movies Online can be downloaded and installed on android devices supporting 10 api and above. Download xMovies8 the app and then move the apk file to your Android’s SD card and then use one file manager you prefer to browse & install it.

  11. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019 said:

    I found very Nice Articals Thanks Happy New Year 2019

  12. wisdom jobs said:

    new jobs here visit for more info

  13. DuckDuckGo make money said:

    Hey really nice article you have you can sale this traffic on DuckDuckGo affiliate marketing platform make money DuckDuckGo

  14. iptvLinks said:

    Hey really nice article you have you here is guide where you can sell your this page traffic on iptv links
    iptv links

  15. shareit said:

    shareit downloading
    shareit install
    shareit free

  16. spotify premium apk reddit said:

    Google Spotify Premium APK/IPA for Android and iPhone respectively and never pay for … But Spotify Premium is legitimately worth it.

  17. mohit chouhan said:

    very nice article, thanks for sharing this article
    bsnl customer care number kerala

    bsnl customer care number kerala

  18. bsnl customer care number kerala said:

    nice article good, article,
    bsnl customer care number kerala

    bsnl customer care number kerala

  19. heluk said:

    That’s a wonderful post. Much needed appreciations “)

  20. Stebano said:

    Very Nice website

  21. John said:

    All the blogs of this website is very interesting. The blog you share is impressive and have interesting information. Thanks for sharing this all. small casters for furniture

  22. jorge andresonn said:

    very nice article, thanks for sharing this article.Thanks for sharing this all.That’s a wonderful post.
    buy casters wheels

  23. David said:

    Very good post here.We should be a good listener?. For making progress we should be a good listener.Thanks for it. heavy duty shelving

  24. boa noite said:

    great article and Really appreciative thanks for sharing i will be keep visiting to you new articles i subscribe the newsletters regard boa noite

  25. kingroot download said:

    very nice article, thanks for sharing this article

  26. Caprine Agrotech said:

    Thankd for the blog i like it very much

  27. Good Morning Messages said:

    Thanks for sharing i really like your article
    Regards : Good Morning Messages

  28. Brig said:

    Very informative article. This article made me add something new to my knowledge. Thanks. Keep up the good work.

  29. Lara said:

    I am glad to know that the article is really very good. Some people visited to here in the blog review is very good. I really like to it for here.

  30. Pamy said:

    This is a great inspiring .I am pretty much pleased with your good ideas. You put really very helpful information.

  31. shaw said:

    I like this blog too much because the style of the presentation of the post is very good and impressive. Thanks for sharing this post.

  32. Acetic acid market said:

    Thanks for sharing this article i really like it very much

  33. alfred mason said:

    I really appreciate your working on this blog. As we said that only a good listener can be a good speaker. So, if you are a good speaker then directly means that you are also a good listener.

    Best garage racking in uk

  34. Roy john said:

    Fantastic post! You gave such a wonderful information about vacation home. I really enjoyed your post.Keep sharing.
    feeding therapy for infants

  35. Kane said:

    I read the content which you share in it and i really impress from it. It is informative. Thanks for sharing this all. Keep sharing
    daily spiritual inspiration

  36. Cloe said:

    Very informative blog here.Your working is very impressive to share this post here.I really like this post.Thanks for it.
    books of the bible

  37. yes cartridges said:

    hi if u are looking for to buy Ink Cartridges, Toner Cartridges, Inkjet, Printer Ink, Laser Toner – Yes Cartridges Visit Yes Cartridges for great prices on cheap ink cartridges, you can visit

  38. bom dia said:

    here you will find good morning and good night images phrases romantic quotes romantic phrases, and brazil magens de bom dia , bom dia domingo, imagem de bom dia, bom dia brasil mensagem de bom dia my love

  39. Hadoop Training in Pune said:

    Thanks for sharing

    Regards : Hadoop Training in Pune

  40. Mensagem de Bom Dia Romantica said:

    All the blogs of this website is very interesting. The blog you share is impressive and have interesting information. Thanks for sharing this all.

    Mensagem de Bom Dia Romantica

  41. AWS Training in Pune said:

    Thank you so much for letting me write really good articles and information sharing.

  42. nehanthdornala said:
    phone to shoot the parents feeding the chicks in slow motion.

  43. islamic ways said:

    Best Dua For Husband Success in business also provide you best result in husband job promotion. If your husband currently finding a good job then this dua is must for you.

    Best Dua For Husband Success

  44. pallavi said:

    The way you written is very good, you covered up all the points which i searching for & I am impressed by reading this article. Keep writing and sharing educational article like this which can help us to grow our knowledge.

  45. Hadoop Admin Classes in pune said:

    Your article is too good and informative. I get exact article here i am thankful to you for sharing this educational article .

  46. pallavipatil said:

    best article i ever read. your writing is well.

    Hadoop Admin Training in pune

  47. Ganga Music said:

    Ganga Bhakti Consider purchasing a high quality carpet cleaner for your home if you plan to keep your carpeting for a long time. These cleaners can be quite expensive, but if you compare them with the cost of hiring a professional, it can be very reasonable. Just think how nice it would be to remedy a stain right away instead of waiting for someone else to do it for you.

  48. videoder for windows said:

    videoder apk download
    videoder for windows
    videoder for pc
    videoder for android
    full information with FAQs are given.

  49. jim said:

    I am very happy to see this blog. Your knowledge is very informative. i like your post and your working style. Thank for sharing.
    Digital marketing

  50. Omar Memon said:

    Hope you are doing well.

    Its been a roller-coaster ride since the day this coronavirus has started in the major countries. I would like to suggest not to panic and get working.
    Reading this kind of blogs are great, thanks for sharing.
    Work on your skills, learn online! Let me suggest you check, BlueMap is providing free demo before you apply for any online courses and free webinars as well. 
    Happy Learning!

  51. tutuapp said:

    the Mobilism Apk is the one of the best ios,android App instagram++ store to get thetons of free app and game. snapchat++ Here the latest version of TutuApp of free.Many time game and update 8 ball pool mod apk so they are not running tutuapp is also update a app in new feature so downloaad a many app so and check on tutuapp

  52. karishma ahuja said:

    Amazing article sir. A great information given by you in this blog. It really informative and very helpful. Keep posting will be waiting for your next blog.Thank you.
    Digital Marketing course in Pune

  53. Andrew Smith said:

    Download Kingroot Apk free for root your android devices.

  54. Sherylbr said:

    Great article…I’m also an author. If you have time visit my AppValley to get more information about iOS Apps.


  55. Cyberflix said:
    Get unlimited movies using Cyberflix. How to download and install Cyberflix TV on Android. Best Cyberflix Installation guides.

  56. Rishi Bharadwaj said:

    Thanks for the opportunity Latest Telugu News Latest Breaking Telugu News Telugu Breaking News

  57. Technogeeks said:

    Thanks for Sharing a Very Informative Post & I read Your Article & I must say that is very helpful post for us.
    Data Science Training Institute in Pune
    Best Python Online Training

  58. Woomn 44 said:

    Download MultiBootUSB for Windows PC – In this article, you can see how you can download and install the MultiBootUSB for Windows PC, Laptop, and desktop for free.

  59. cademyk said:

    I really like your blog presentation. It is informative too, at the same time. I have gone through a few of the blog links which you have shared. This has helped in clarifying some of my doubts. Thanks a lot for your guidance! Can you read this Learn voiceover

  60. junaid said:

    thanks for the post article was greate and valuable


  61. directions maps said:

    I read some articles on this site and I think your blog is really interesting and has great information. Thanks for sharing.

  62. farrahdahliya14 said:

    Church’s Chicken Guest Satisfaction Survey is all about customer visit experience and is done online for your convenience. From the collected information, improvements are made by them on customers’ needs.

  63. Best Classified Themes said:

    Best Classified Themes WordPress for Classified ads websites. It is one of the most feature-rich themes on the market. Running a successful.

  64. Cairo day tours said:

    Egypt vacation tours is leading travel agent in Egypt can organize many tours all over Egypt with special offers and high services with good prices that no body can beat it

  65. Kapak laflar said:

    en guzel kapak laflar, laf sokan cumleler, kapak sozler, kapak mesajlar …

  66. yawossds said:

    Famous YouTuber Logan Paul has thrown a challenge towards the Mayweather vs Paul Live champion boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. for an exhibition match on Saturday, 20th February 2021.

  67. clearpathortho said:

    The structure based alignments can be carried out using the most common structural aligners such as TMalign, Mustang, and sap.

  68. clear path said:

    Aligners in Pakistan
    Transparent Teeth Aligners
    clear aligners
    clear aligners

  69. said:

    Using your Microsoft Account associated with office to sign in will take you to the Dashboard for Office installation, If you are new to Office, you can create a New account and enter Product key to redeem and Install Office.

  70. dsswosds said:

    Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul is still set to go ahead this year with Mayweather vs Paul stream organisers currently looking for a new date and venue.

  71. glute workout bands said:

    They are an incredible alternative for strength preparing exercises on account of the test they give your muscles, which is not the same as utilizing loads.

  72. ??????? said:


Leave a Reply