Friday, 11 January 2013

Powerful Listening

The secret of many a man's success in the world resides in his insight into the moods of men and his tact in dealing with them.
J.G. Holland

No matter what your business is I can guarantee you one thing; 100% of your target market is human. As a matter of fact, I can also guarantee that 100% of your suppliers, partners, family, friends and contacts is human. Alright, maybe not 100% of your friends, I have a couple of friends who aren't human although they think they are (I'll let you take that however you want to). 

The point is, when it comes to your business (and much of your life) you will be interacting with other people constantly. Your skill in dealing with people can be one of the biggest factors in your success. Spend some time around a sales team to see proof of this. Often it is not the salesperson who knows the product the best that has the greatest results, it is the salesperson who understand how to communicate with people and make them feel comfortable. 

The funny thing is that when you look at most of the training material out there about how to communicate, it is focused on how to send information out. To have people feel comfortable with you though, it is just as important (if not more so) to know how to receive what others are sending to you. In short, listening. Truly listening to people will help you understand what they need and desire, but more importantly, it will show them that you are interested in what they have to say. If they feel that, they will want to do business with you. 

Here are some signs that you are truly listening:

1. While being spoken to your thoughts are on what the person is actually saying, not on what you are going to say next.

2. You wait for the speaker to completely finish what they are saying before you begin to speak. 

3. You can remember how the conversation flowed from point to point and see the other person's contributions to it as clearly as your own. 

4. Many of the times you speak will be open ended questions that encourage the other person to speak. These will never be "loaded" questions.

5. At the end of each exchange you could easily sum up what the person just said if you needed to (assuming the speaker said something that made sense.)

When you truly listen to what a speaker is saying you will be giving them that feeling that they are important to you. That what they have to say is of value to you and that you respect them. You will learn about who they are, what they can do and what they need. With these two pieces in place, you have a solid foundation for a valuable business relationship. 

The best business people are most often the best communicators. The best communicators are most often the best listeners. 

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of 
listening when you would have preferred to talk. 
Doug Larson

One of the most sincere forms of respect is 
actually listening to what another has to say. 
Bryant H. McGill

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