6 How ­Being a Better ­Listener Makes You a ­Better ­Communicator

When written in ­Chinese, the word ­“crisis” is composed of two characters.

One represents danger and the other ­represents opportunity.

– John F. Kennedy

There’s nothing quite like a monumental crisis to bring people together. The arbiter of our fractured relationship came in the way of the biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression. It sounds dramatic, but there we were, about to perform at Fiserv Forum for 5,000 banking CEOs, presidents, and other high-level bankers at the Venetian in Las Vegas, when there, splattered all over the front pages of the New York Times, was the headline that read, “Lehman Collapse Sends Shockwave Around World.”

None of the members of Four Day Weekend were bankers, and our knowledge of complex banking regulations was limited to having a free checking account. Yet we knew this was a potential crisis that could literally grind the US economy to a halt. The warnings that were coming from the US government hardly seemed hyperbolic; this may be the biggest collapse in 80 years.

As we were preparing to take the stage that morning in mid-September in 2008, almost everyone was on edge. How did this happen? How could the largest economy in the world lose one of the largest financial services firms in the world?

Sometimes it is best not to fully know how dire things are in a certain moment, and this certainly was the case at the time. Although each of us knew these dire warnings ...

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