Listening appears to be a declining skill because listening means completely listening and nothing else! Not thinking of tonight’s activity, the “To Do” list and the growing e-mail inbox!! Recently I came across a great quote about listening:
“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”— Ralph Nichols
Recent studies have shown that we typically remember only 25-30% of what we hear. However, ‘Active Listening’ can increase that figure enormously. One of the ways to use ‘Active Listening’ is to remember the often-used expression that “eyes and ears should be used in the same proportion they have been allocated to us.”
In today’s digital world we seem to be continually playing catch up with voice mails, e-mails, meetings and ever increasing tight deadlines. As a result, we seem to be “broadcasting” all the time but rarely listening to what is important.
Our kids tend to watch TV whilst texting their friends and doing their homework! How do they do that? Well the answer is that they can’t all do all those things well at the same time.
So, is it that important? Yes it is. If we don’t truly listen we do not get the real message being communicated. If we don’t get the real message then we can’t act appropriately.
If we really want to build relationships and grow our business then we have to work at good listening. Here’s 4 reasons why listening builds relationships:
1. We Can Gain Information
If we listen, really listen; we can learn things about the person, their aspirations, their fears, their business and what we may be able to help them with.
So much of the spoken word is hidden in inflection, tone and expression, so listening is imperative for understanding and gaining information. And as we all know, information is power. It allows us to fashion the necessary responses and strategy to help our client.
2. We Build Trust
When we give our full attention to people expressing thoughts and experiences that are important to them, they are likely to see us as a person who cares about them.
When we are obviously focusing on that person and we refrain from interjecting opinions, judgments, and advice, or finishing their sentences, we are seen as someone who cares and can be trusted with their information and confidences. This builds trust.
3. We Increase Our Accuracy
When we listen properly, we have a better recollection of important facts and issues.
This can result in fewer miscommunications and mistakes and makes us more efficient and have more value in our customer and our internal relationships.
4. We Build a Relationship
When we listen properly to the other person’s point of view a real conversation can ensue. An educated and informed conversation can take place rather than sound bites being picked on and conclusions jumped too. When this genuine exchange takes place, we naturally form a relationship.
So, when in conversation, let’s be sure to do everything we can to make sure we are being an Active Listener.
“Active Listening” leads to solid relationships and relationships are built through many human attributes. At the core of these attributes is listening.
Peter M. Beaumont is the Founder and Owner of ConnXN and is a customer relationship mentor who helps those responsible for their stellar clients follow a unique 6-step process, which identifies, builds and maintains their key contacts so they can protect and grow their business.