Ask Global Creative Director at Apple Music, who says they’ve ‘really only just learned to listen’.
Zane Lowe has been described as New Zealand’s most successful music export, one of the UK’s top radio broadcasters and is now the creative force behind Apple Music.
Fancy. But as a professional listener myself, it’s the thousands of insightful interviews he’s racked up with artists that interest me. And what helped him learn to listen.
In this article, he follows up with…
‘That’s the simple answer to why I’m able to have such personal conversations with the artists’
What Zane learned was how to make space in a conversation. While listening is a default ability, we sometimes need to fight our social selves in order to truly hear.
He describes his ‘game-changing’ shift…
‘I always used to be searching for ways to insert myself into the conversation – I had to learn to wait and to not be afraid of letting someone collect their thoughts. That was a major game-changer for me, it slowed everything down and made me realise that a conversation wasn’t a game of table tennis. So I started to actively force myself to sit in the moment without trying to fill the space’
These same principles apply when interviewing customers, a staple design research technique, and while the old trope of ‘you’re doing well if you can make them cry’ isn’t anything to go by, having people open up to you certainly is.
For someone making headlines for having pop stars ‘open their hearts’ to him, and being referred to as ’pop’s unofficial therapist’ it’s clear Zane has the fundamentals down and he’s had the same ‘ah-ha’ realisation so many researchers have.
I know I was hundreds of interviews in before I could fully embrace the pause like this. Today I look for ways to introduce it.
Whether you’re interviewing a pop star on their career journey or a user of a product or service; fight your urge to fill those gaps, be comfortable with the silence, shut up and learn.
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