Earlier tonight I was sitting in a restaurant in Boston with my National Sales Manager discussing the best approach to dealing with a few people, as well as our companies marketing and sales strategy. I'm here for the Embedded Systems Conference, or at least, I was here for the conference. Now I'm just here because you can't get any evening flights from Boston to Portland. I could have left late tonight with an eight hour layover in the San Francisco airport taking the same connector to Portland that I will have after leaving this morning at six a.m. Of course, given that it's after midnight, I might have ended up with more sleep that way.
While in this discussion, it occurred to me that good marketing and good psychology are a lot alike. Both are primarily focused around listening, not just listening, but actually hearing and understanding. In marketing as in psychology, you must understand your target. You must then arrange your message to fit the listening patterns of that target. On the surface, it seems a bit manipulative, but it really isn't. It's just a matter of packaging. You are delivering the same information, just in a method and manner that is more likely to be understood.
Again, in both fields, the primary function is the hearing. I'm not sure you could generalize with a standard ratio, but for sake of the argument, you should listen/hear four to five times more than you speak. First, if you use too many words, the message gets lost. The audience will tune out. Shut down. If you spend the extra time listening, and some time considering, you will be better prepared to formulate an effective message with fewer words, whether it be with a friend, a psychology subject or a target customer.