Monday, June 30, 2008

Learning to Listen



You hear things all day long––traffic outside your building, telephones ringing down
the hall, employees talking about the game coming up this weekend––and you’ve probably learned to tune most of it out as noise. But how much of what goes on in your small business are you really listening to? If you want a business relationship to flourish––whether with employees, clients or customers­­––you need to be a good listener.

Listening is an important skill to have, not just in life, but in business as well.

When you fail to listen closely three things can happen:

* You will hear what you want to hear.
* You will hear what you expect to hear.
* You will not analyze what others are telling you.

Listening is important, but few business people practice how to listen well. Remember the game you played in kindergarten called “Telephone”? All the kids sat in a circle, and one student started the game by whispering into the ear of the student to the left. Perhaps the whisper started out as “I have two new puppies at home, and they are so cute.” But by the time that statement made it all the way around the circle, it had become “I had two hush puppies for dinner last night, and they were so good.” Obviously, one or two of those in the circle weren’t listening, at least not listening well.


But your listening skills can go far in your small business. Employee complaints, customer requests, sales calls, etc. You probably encounter dozens of instances each day where only half listening could get you and your business in trouble. So how do you practice listening? It’s not exactly like practicing your bowling game or penmanship or is it?

1. Maintain eye contact. Don’t let your eyes (and your mind) wander off to something else going on in the room.
2. Focus on content. Perhaps the person speaking to you is twirling her hair or spinning a pencil in his hands. Ignore it and focus on what he or she is actually saying.
3. Don’t interrupt. Let the customer or employee finish his or her thoughts and words before you jump in with an answer or question.
4. Stay active in the conversation. And ask questions. If something doesn’t make sense, ask for clarification or further explanation.

When you listen well, you will be able to:

* Figure out what your customer or employee wants and needs
* Prevent misunderstandings and errors
* Build long-term relationships

Like your bowling game, listening improves with practice. Make it your personal challenge today not just to hear the things going on around you, but to really listen.

I hope you are listening.

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5 Comments:

At July 1, 2008 at 8:51 AM, OpenID Jef Menguin said...

I love this entry.

Grabe, ang galing mo magsulat!

 
At July 1, 2008 at 6:14 PM, Blogger tweety said...

ThANKs jEFF..keep visiting my blog!!

 
At July 1, 2008 at 6:14 PM, Blogger tweety said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
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