Some people are more natural “listeners” but listening is a learned skill. Learn empathic listening and you will find yourself more likely to be heard.
Empathic listening is with the intent to understand. Most of us listen with the intent to respond.
Intent to Understand
I was listening to a Stephen Covey presentation through his Insights program made available at a great price through one of our business partners. One of the series is on communication and he was bang on when discussing the importance of how we listen.
By listening with the intent to understand, we learn more about our prospect and how we can help them. I love how he used communicating with teenagers about school as an example.
When practicing listening to understand, the person talking is likely to feel safer and compelled to be more honest. It’s important to practice reflective listening during this process. Restate what they said occasionally to let them know you are really listening and trying to understand.
Ask probing questions to go deeper. Probing is different than challenging or grilling. When you probe, it should be obvious that you care about how they feel and are seeking a deeper understanding rather than trying to pull information to use for a challenge to their thoughts and ideas.
Practice safe listening!
Intent to Respond
Most of us have a bad habit of listening to respond. Have you ever caught yourself waiting for an opening to interject? That means your focus was on your own thoughts and I have to wonder if you were really listening. I’m very guilty of this and have to work to focus on the other person and their needs. I try to look for opportunities to help and that means if I’m talking more than I’m listening, I’m not likely helping much.
Sometimes the best way to help someone is to just listen so that they can sort their thoughts.
Be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that everyone you talk to is a prospect. Approach the relationship potential as just that, a potential relationship.
Remember that if you are a leader in your industry, people are watching. What you do is what they may duplicate. So yes, what you say or don’t say matters.
Are you listening? Really?
Make it a great day,
P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful that most MLM or Network Marketing groups spend a lot of time and effort on personal development. I’m thankful for people who keep an open mind. I’m thankful we are naturally inclined to help others.
What are you thankful for today?