Training Tip Tuesday: Listen to Communicate Part 2

Earlier this month we introduced you to Laura Stover, a member of The Communication Gym since May and the Human Resources Manager at SEK CPAs and Advisors. If you read her interview, you may have wondered what she meant when she said “I practiced the 4 P’s and asked powerful questions” when in a meeting with a potential client. Notice a theme this month?


Active listeningPowerful questions...


The 4 P’s play an important role in both of those skills. You can start practicing the 4 P’s in both your personal and professional life.

First, what are the 4 P’s? This problem-solving framework is a simple set of questions that will help you stay focused, get clear, and build a bridge from the problem to the solution.

  1. What problem are you having?

  2. What pain is that causing?

  3. What pleasure will you experience if this problem were solved?

  4. What will it mean to you personally to alleviate this problem?


Second, why the 4 P’s? What do they have to do with listening or asking powerful questions? Use the 4 P’s to better understand the speaker’s needs, problems, or issues. You will probably reword each of the questions to fit your style or the situation in which you will use them.


Once you use the 4 P’s, you will reflect back your understanding with a statement like:

  • As I understand it, one important problem you’re experiencing is _____.

  • This problem is causing pain by _____.

  • If you could alleviate this problem, you would experience ____.

  • And if you solved this problem, to you personally it would mean ___.

  • Do I understand you correctly?


In Laura’s meeting, she found that by taking the time to really listen to her potential client and use the 4 P’s, she was able to better understand their needs, before proposing a solution. Frequently we see that proposed solutions do not remedy the true problem. Remember that story about the car mechanic and the flat tire? Listening is the key to asking the right questions and to your understanding.


Members at The Communication Gym practice the 4 P’s so that when the time comes, their unconscious competence takes over. If you’re ready to improve, we’re ready to help. We’re filling rosters for 2022 Practice Groups. See YOU @ The Gym!

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