As a Business Communication instructor, Social Media Evangelista, and a “regular person,” I do understand the POWER of really listening to people and the DANGERS of not listening to others — whether they be students, teachers, clients, vendors, family, or friends.
At a recent 3-day workshop on Building Wealth Through Relationships with 50+ entrepreneurs, I had the too-frequent experience of having coaches telling me everything I OUGHT TO DO . . . without talking to me first and listening to what I was all about.
During the event, we’d even had a listening exercise where we paired up to chat; our task was to respond with the Key Words last spoken by our partner. [NOTE: You can also use this method in emails by repeating those Key Words in your email replies.]
Unfortunately, the exercise didn’t turn into action for too many of the participants.
Some people just don’t want to listen to others . . . OR they don’t know how.
If someone doesn’t want to listen, there’s nothing we can do for that person.
However, for those who do want to learn and practice Better Listening, here are . . .
Five tried-and-true tips to hone your listening skills
- Silence your own thoughts: Focus on the speaker, not what you want to say.
- Keep an open mind: Establish a receptive mind-set. Judge ideas, not appearances. You’ll never expand your own knowledge base unless you give others the opportunity to give you information you might not have had before.
- Hold your fire: Wait your turn. Let the speaker complete his or her remarks before you begin questioning and/or disagreeing.
- Use non-verbal techniques: Show you’re paying attention by maintaining eye contact and nod when appropriate. If sitting, you can lean toward the person. You might also try the NLP technique of “mirroring” the leg, arm, body position of someone speaking to you.
- Summarize what you hear: After someone has communicated important information, repeat it back using some of the Key Words he or she used. This solidifies your understanding, shows you were listening, and gives the speaker an opportunity to correct any misinformation.
Why you need this skill:
- You’ll build better rapport and stronger relationships.
- You’ll be able to understand better what is expected of you and how to meet and surpass expectations.
- You’ll become a better problem solver and people will look to you as someone they want to be with and trust with their business.
Your turn: What listening tips have worked for you?
Listening is the First Rule to Business Success
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