Listen to me . . . BEFORE you tell me what to do

Filed in Sharisax Is Out There 7 comments

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

  1. Silence your own thoughts: Focus on the speaker, not what you want to say.
  2. 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.
  3. Hold your fire: Wait your turn. Let the speaker complete his or her remarks before you begin questioning and/or disagreeing.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

FURTHER READING

Listening is the First Rule to Business Success

Valeria Maltoni’s post: Communicators Can Ramp Up Online Business

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   26 July 2010
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Comments
Jul 26, 2010
2:19 pm

I am constantly getting phone calls from investment firms wanting me to participate in some stock purchase or investment.
Thee representatives continue to spout off their script without listening to what I am telling them. If I can’t trust them to determine whether it is an appropriate recommendation or what my considerations are, how can I trust them with my money???

Author Jul 26, 2010
2:24 pm

Joe, I agree 100%.
ALL customer service reps and telephone solicitors MUST understand that it really is all about the customer . . . or why waste time on the phone!

And if it’s about us, then you have to listen to us.
🙂
THX for your story — and the opportunity to blow off some steam about this frustrating experience.

Jul 28, 2010
5:52 pm
#3 Diane Nicolson :

One of my pet peeves is being in a group where one or more people don’t let others complete their thoughts.
When that happens I simply say “Thanks, now I’d like to hear what ‘so and so’ was saying”. This validates the original speaker and focuses the group a little bit more on listening. Thanks!

Author Jul 28, 2010
6:03 pm

Hi Diane,
We haven’t talked in TOO LONG, but definitely a big Thank You for joining the convo here.

Your point is an interesting one with two sides to it, I suspect. As a teacher, I find that on occasion I must “cut someone off” who is monopolizing the discussion, going off topic, and losing the rest of the students.
But, of course, as you point out there are always the people who listen to someone only long enough to figure out how they can make some point of their own — which may OR MAY NOT have anything to do with the original speaker.

Dec 21, 2010
8:03 pm
#5 Al Nacson :

So nice to be reminded once more how much value is added to our own lives by what others share with us! Thank you Shari.

Author Dec 22, 2010
12:02 am

Glad you liked the post, Al. I was just with a few friends this evening who want me to share more . . . some novels, perhaps.
🙂

Feb 16, 2011
10:21 pm
#7 robert :

thats whats wrong with the world today people dont listen to eachother, always wanting to talk over one another.Maybe if people were to listen to each others opinions an bounce ideas off each other the world would be a much better place.

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