Dale Carnegie taught us the sweetest sound people can hear is the sound of their own voice.  Oh, how true that is.

Frank Rose is the author of the book, “The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories.”  Rose had a short piece in The Atlantic (“The Selfish Meme” October 2012, p. 30) discussing the human tendency to love the sound of one’s own voice.  He summarized some of the latest research on this tendency:

“The mesolimbic dopamine system—the seat of the brain’s reward mechanism—was more engaged by questions about the test subject’s own opinions and attitudes than by questions about the opinions and attitudes of other people.  The system has long been known to respond to both primary rewards (food and sex) and secondary rewards (money), but this was the first time it’s been shown to light up in response to, as the researchers put it, ‘self-disclosure.’”

These findings are not necessarily terribly surprising because we all excel at self-interest.  We know how powerful a force it is.  Nevertheless, my point is the research simply reinforces how important it is to reach out to other people in business by asking direct questions that require personalized individual responses.  This builds relationships that enrich our lives both personally and professionally.

Certainly, this is not only the polite, responsible thing to do, but it is the neurologically rewarded thing to do, in more ways than one.  The person giving the responses gets stroked and you strengthen your relationship.

I never cease to be amazed at how well all these different dimensions of our personhood synergistically operate.  Most of us go through our days without really thinking about it consciously.  But one thing is for sure—each one of us commensurately benefits or is harmed by how well we manage all these dimensions.  Perhaps we need to pay more attention to each of them.

And perhaps we need to pay more attention to the sound of someone else’s voice.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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