I remind myself every morning: nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So If I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening – Larry King.
To foster good communication, one must learn how to listen whether is in a casual or organizational setting, during personal or professional interaction. When the mouth closes, two ears open.
It’s very easy for us to underrate listening skills, mainly because we often take granted the ability to detect sounds. Little do we know, hearing is actually far different than listening.
This is because listening involves the notion of accurately receiving and interpreting messages.
Listening is integral to building a relationship and converting your prospects into a sale. Good listening skills results in better customer satisfaction and greater productivity with fewer mistakes.
Sales professional: What can I do to improve listening skills?
Here are some questions for you to reflect on:
1) How do you stay present and focused?
Tip: Stop thinking about what to say next; instead, focus on what the speaker is telling you. Be curious and ask follow up questions to dig deeper into the topic.
2) Do you pause before you respond?
Tip: Take two full breaths before responding. This ensures the speaker is finished and gives them space to share more. You will also sound firm and controlled when you speak.
3) How do you refocus if your mind wanders?
Tip: Tempting as it is, you may start thinking about your next meeting, travel plans, or what you have planned for the evening. When that happens, halt and bring yourself back to the moment.
4) How do you summarize the key points?
Tip: It’s a bonus if you are able to voice record when someone is giving an important talk. After that, play back to note the key points and try to capture the core message. Apart from listening, jolt down notes so you can revisit them later as needed.
5) How do you avoid judging others?
Tip: It is very important to understand what people are saying before giving feedbacks. People often make judgments right away and give their opinions. However, that is not focused listening. Ask open-ended questions that begin with “What” to stay focused on listening and understanding.
6) How do you resist repeating something?
Tip: Nobody like listening to the same old story over and over again. Pause yourself from sharing your own input and experiences until you can think of a new and constructive opinion to contribute in a conversation.
7) How do you keep yourself relaxed?
Tip: The more calm you are, the more information you will gather from the person you are listening to since they will be at ease with you.