The Art of Listening

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Do you suffer from Glossophobia?  Not to worry, statistics show that 75% of people do to some extent. Glossophobia is fear of public speaking. That does not include the worries you may have of saying the wrong thing on a date, asking your boss for a raise or trying to explain algebra to your 12 year old.

While many people work hard to overcome their fear of public speaking, or learn how to have those challenging conversations, how many of us make the effort to improve our listening skills?  The answer, not many. We tend to take listening for granted.

Over the years I have learned, in business and at home, the art of listening, just ask my wife. Part of growing as a business owner, a parent, or in any relationship, is being able to listen and not just to what is actually being said but also how it is being said… and sometimes what’s not being said. Simon and Garfunkel sang many years ago, “Listen to the sounds of silence.”

Communication Skills

Whether, I’m conversing with customers or with my family, I always want to focus attention on what they are actually communicating and not what I want to say next, or where I have to be, or what I want for lunch. I try to zero in on what message they are trying to get across and how they are expressing themselves. Are they curious? Appreciative? Angry? Confused? Witty? The closer I listen, the more likely I can respond appropriately to what they are saying, or ask the right question to better understand. I try to repeat, in my mind, the key points so I will remember them. And since 90% of communication is non-verbal, I pay attention to voice inflections, watch their facial expressions and even hand gestures. But, perhaps the most important aspect of listening is to remember it’s not about you (and what you’re thinking) it’s about them (and what they are communicating).

Sometimes when people are having new windows installed in their home it’s not just fixing up the home, but also improving their quality of life and showing their love for their family. The more we listen carefully, the more we really get to know our clients.

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