Why is listening such a difficult skill to master? After all, hearing is something most of us take for granted. But hearing and listening are not the same.
Listening means having a genuine interest in what somebody is saying. We fail to listen effectively when we are more interested in our own opinions, and feel an irresistible urge to share them, or we feel that we need to impress our views on our audience believing this will persuade them to buy from us.
Sometimes having a limited amount of time is our excuse for not listening. OR you might want to make yourself feel better and more secure by proving your superior knowledge or insight.
Not listening properly is not only very disrespectful – it’s also not the way to win business
There’s also no point listening if it doesn’t look as though you are; For example, having your head down taking notes, or looking very passive and not giving any feedback to the speaker. This is almost as bad as not listening at all. The impact on the other person is just the same!
Active listening is critical because people love to be heard. And, it shows respect for them and their opinions.
Through active and careful listening you learn more about what your customers know and think – which is what you want, surely. You’ll understand why they have the opinions they do. You might even learn something to change your own opinions!
And, if you listen to them then they owe you the same. Create a culture of active listening, mutual respect, and information sharing in your meetings. This will build rapport, credibility and trust between you.
Here’s how you show you’re listening: nod in the right places, smile, paraphrase back what you’ve heard, and ask additional, relevant questions AFTER the other person has finished speaking.
Focus on real listening, on what you’re being told and on providing the right kind of feedback. Don’t think about other things, or interrupting, or changing the subject, or what you want to say
People respect good listeners and see them as great conversationalists. Being a really good listener makes you become an even more effective influencer – you’ll then succeed and win more often!
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