How you listen to colleagues, to customers, to yourself is key. Are you just there or is listening a conscious activity?
When you listen to colleagues listen with empathy. Consider their point of view. Think about their background and situation, and how it could be influencing their perspective. Recognize their style and make them feel comfortable with you. Engage them with your eyes and with your questions. Don’t immediately judge what they say; consider their point of view or comments from a neutral perspective.
Customers are constantly telling you what they think. But you have to listen carefully because they speak softly. And they often disguise what they’re saying because they have other things, usually more important things to concern them than your product or service. Their message will be subtle and may only be heard when you aggregate all the conversations from many customers but it’s there. Listen actively and you will hear it.
Are you listening to yourself? Is what you’re saying designed to draw out the conversation or are you being judgmental. The truth is almost always a layer or two, or three into the conversation but you won’t get there if what you say communicates you’ve already made a decision about the conversation.
Are you talking too much? A key to effective listening is keeping your mouth shut. A pause in the conversation isn’t always a bad thing. Watch the person you are talking to. Are they thinking about the discussion? Are they formulating a comment, a question, a contribution? Let them finish. Don’t immediately attempt to fill the space. Let the conversation develop at its pace. You will be amazed at what you can learn if you are listening and not talking.
- Listen with your conscious mind.
- Listen with empathy.
- Listen with care, to many voices.
- Listen what you’re saying and how you’re saying it.
- If you’re talking you aren’t listening.