Hello you, Yes, you, the person reading this. Are you a listener?
Or, are you semi-listening, determining what you think the person is saying or will say, and planning your response?
To truly listen isn’t natural for many of us. We make assumptions, believe we know more/better, can be impatient, interrupt, feel a need to defend ourselves, and usually our brain automatically starts planning. Planning: our defence, our position, an explanation of our assumptions, to get our point across, the words we want to use, etc.
Planning isn’t listening.
Planning is an action that ensures we aren’t present to hear/sense/observe/understand what the speaker is actually saying.
Interrupting isn’t listening – I know this-I’m a work-in-progress reformed interrupter.
Interrupting is an action that cuts people off because we are impatient or excited (with the caveat that there may be times when one must interrupt).
Listening is a gift!
It’s a gift to the speaker and a gift to yourself.
Actively listening requires presence, focus, openness, intention, and curiosity.
Listening can feel uncomfortable. Whether listening to a client, colleague, boss, friend, family member, stranger, or equally yourself, it is the most important act you can offer another or yourself.
Listening builds trust. Listening is learning. Listening de-escalates. Listening is kind. Listening is imperative.
Listening demonstrates that you value the person and what they have to say.
Everyone wants to be heard.
Listening is one of the most important skills in the Craft of Client Service.
Listening, like all skills we seek to master, requires practise. Here are some tips:
- Before you begin, prepare and ground yourself.
- Decide if you are going to listen.
- Be OK with not pre-planning your answers.
- Trust that you will know what words or actions to convey if you have truly listened—this is proven.
- Remember to pause and breathe.
Listening will allow you to continue to:
- Build great, long-lasting relationships
- Do great work for your clients
- Make money for the company
Remember, listening involves listening to what is said and what isn’t.
I thank you for listening to me.