January 2, 2011
In fact I believe it is the most important and essential skill we can posses when building a business, negotiating, or making a sale. It’s not possible to satisfy a customer unless we know exactly what they need and that means listening to their words and observing their body language. The micro expressions they make contribute and reinforce the words they utter.
This all leads to increased productivity, increased sales and profits being boosted.
People that listen tend to be liked more than those that don’t listen or don’t appear to listen. Listeners are more popular and have a bigger network of friends and acquaintances. Because they listen they tend to make more sales and profit and have more successful careers.
Listening is Blocked by Technology Distractions and Self Importance
People often fail to listen because they are distracted by technology. Mobile phones and tablets are the worst offenders and will steal attention from those that should be listening. When negotiating its often best to turn phones and tablets off or at least on to silent if we want to focus on the other party and really hear what they say. Researchers say we only remember about half of what is said to us. The remembered info then diminishes over time and a few days later we recall very little, especially of distracted.
And if we feel or behave in a self important way, thinking more about our answer than what is being said, we can lose whole chunks of info.
So we need to stop hearing and start actively listening.
Making Eye Contact is a Starting Point to Actively Listening
If, when the other party speaks, we make eye contact its much harder to be distracted. And when we make eye contact the other person responds with a more fluent language as they are than focusing on you and your non verbal response.
By making eye contact we also take the time to connect at a higher level. We find common ground quicker and conversations flow better. This in turn leads to more sales and profit .. so it makes good business sense.
And because we hear what is being said, and are able to internalise it, we ask better questions. Mirroring language in our questions or comments is possible if we’ve truly listened and this can make a huge difference in the result of a negotiation.
To discover more read The Art of Listening in Business Communications
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