So, Let’s consider: The art of listening
“Can you hear me now?” We’ve all seen that annoying advert with the guy wondering around with a cell phone to his head, wanting to make sure that he’s being heard. Granted this video clip is pure propaganda for a cell phone vendor, but let’s think about this concept a bit further and deeper.
Everyone wants to be heard and understood. It’s not only part of good communication it’s also part of accepting and feeling accepted. And, with good mutual acceptance and communication comes trust and the development of many other good things not only in personal lives but in business as well.
So, let’s look at how we can develop our listening skills a bit.
Nobody likes to feel like they’re being ignored while they’re trying to say something they feel is important and relevant to someone else. So, if you find yourself in an environment filled with distractions, noises or anything else that takes your attention from someone trying to talk with you, simply move to a different room or a quieter place of the room you’re in. If it’s bad timing, simply state so and suggest a better time and place where you both can meet to give the speaker and the subject the attention it deserves.
Engage the speaker and ask questions
Many times it’s a good idea to ask a few clarifying questions just to make sure you’re both thinking along the same lines. It also helps to show interest in the speaker and topic and aids in building rapport with the person(s) you’re talking with. And, when you may need a little time to think about what’s being presented and what your responses might be, it helps to buy you that time.
Let your body show you’re listening
Face the speaker directly and establish eye contact. Facing them and looking at them helps establish that you’re not just there physically, but also mentally. If you need to take a few notes, do so. Sometimes I find that writing notes on the back of their business card helps me not only remember what I was talking about, but where I may want to take the conversation at a later time, and it’s always nice to have the person’s contact info on the other side. Also, avoid looking around while you’re talking, this is not only distracting to them but discourteouse as well.
Listening is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. Yet, it’s an important building block in communication and business. People will really know and understand that what they say matters when you listen, and listening is a very worthwhile investment in the development and maintenance of any relationship.
So, now, go forth, and listen.
I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand.
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