Want to use those ears for the good of your business?
Listening is something of second nature. We have ears; therefore we have the sense of sound, and therefore we are listening. Right?
What if I told you that you could take that sense of sound to the next level?
Effective listening means paying full attention to what someone is saying. It’s about waiting for the person to finish talking before you speak. It’s about having open body language, acknowledging and absorbing feedback.
Have you ever had a conversation with a colleague, and while they are talking, your mind is just racing with how to respond?
This, my friends, is NOT effective listening.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey.
By ‘effectively’ listening the first time, this saves you both time from having to go back to ask the person to repeat themselves, which mitigates messy miscommunication.
How do I practice effective listening?
1. Think about your body language – Are your eyes focused on the other person or on your computer screen? Are your arms or legs crossed?
2. Acknowledging what the other person is saying, and staying engaged in the conversation sends the message that you respect them.
3. Clarify and rephrase their ideas to aid in your mental processing and understanding, by letting them know how you have interpreted what they said.
And as they say, positivity breeds positivity, so listening breeds respect. When someone feels respected and valued, their intrinsic motivation is more likely to increase, contributing to a positive team culture.
The 70/30 Rule of Communication
The 70/30 Rule of Communication is the golden ratio of listening vs. talking. The rule of thumb is 70% of the conversation is spent listening, and 30% is spent talking. Think about this the next time a colleague comes to you with an idea – “Am I truly listening more than I talk”?
Take Sales for example – as much as you want to convert that warm lead into a sale; you first need to scope out their needs and listen to their requirements. Effective sales aren’t about shoving your ideas in front of a customer and hoping they listen; it’s about enhancing their Customer Experience by listening to them 70% of the time, which as a by-product will make them feel valued, and ultimately help you provide a solution in which you both benefit.
It’s a mistaken fact that leaders who think that having something to say gives them a position of power; it is the leaders that have mastered the art of listening that are respected. Effective listening takes practice, but once mastered, it’s a skill that pays off.
Let’s start using our sense of sound to its fullest potential.