I love my new son-in-law Patrick Sidoti. Not only is he a great husband and partner to our daughter Kate, his is also a wonderful addition to our family. Patrick would walk barefoot on hot coals for our daughter. I know this because when he asked for permission to marry our daughter, I asked him to walk on hot coals and he did, well kind of…I let him wear flip flops.

Patrick is an executive producer for a large advertising company based in Minneapolis. He produces advertising campaigns and commercials for major clients. One of his ads appeared on the Super Bowl.

Not only is Patrick gifted with creativity, he is also one of the best listeners I have ever met. A lot of executives say that they truly understand their clients however, no one takes the time to understand the needs of a client better than Patrick.

One of his techniques to focus on the client is his ability to stop, drop and listen. Before Patrick walks into a meeting with a client, he takes out his sharpie and writes the word “listen” on his right hand right where the thumb and the index finger come together. Throughout the meeting, Patrick will glance at the word “listen” to remind himself of the value of truly understanding the client.

The next time you head into a big meeting or having a courageous conversation with a team member or loved one – pull out your Sharpie and write down the word “listen”. I guarantee you that it will show the other party that you truly care and it will be a lot less painful than walking on hot coals to prove your commitment.