Most people will tell you that to successfully influence others whether it be in sales, in a team, with teenagers, your spouse or other family members, you need to be a smooth talker and have the gift of the gab.
Yet there is a growing realization around the importance of listening and communication skills in business. There are a whole lot of frustrated people out there who feel like they just aren’t being listened to. When was the last time you said or heard the words “You just don’t get it, do you?”
To influence others you have to be able to LISTEN. Listening is as powerful as talking. Listening is the foundation from which you can sell, manage or influence others.
- You can’t sell unless you understand your customer’s problem.
- You can’t manage unless you understand your employee’s motivation.
- You can’t create a strong team unless you understand how the team feel about the issue at hand.
In every single case, the key to success is in listening to others. And from where I am sitting at the moment it’s the same the whole world over and the power listening can have is often underestimated. Think about how you felt the last time someone really listened to you, not just heard you, but listened to you, understood what you meant and helped you to see things clearer. It’s a weight off, it’s a feeling of relief and clarity.
So, how do you better your listening skills? Three quick reminders:
- Pay attention, don’t zone out. Clear your mind and focus on their facial expression, body position, movement and tone of voice. All provide valuable information about what they are saying and how they’re feeling – if you zone out you will miss it.
- Let them finish, don’t interrupt. Resist the tendency to jump in and have your say at every opportunity, it’s a sure fire way to put people off talking to you.
- Be open. Do not think you have the answer in the first 2 minutes. You may have and if you remain open to the conversation more alternatives will present themselves, you just have to be watching and listening for clues. The best solution may not be what you initially thought.
Are you getting the results you are wanting with clients, team members and even family?
Are you really listening to them or does you mind wander during the conversation?
Give it a go this week – really listen to others and notice the difference.
Common sense really, common courtesy!