We all know if we listen effectively, we will better understand our clients and partner’s thoughts, needs and desires. This knowledge will help us expand our knowledge and create great solutions.
The other wonderful benefit of listening effectively is how it engages and rewards the person you are listening to. They are immediately flattered. Think how you feel when someone attentively listens to you. You feel that what you are saying has meaning. When people know you are listening to their every word, they will feel more comfortable sharing information with you. They will then repay you by listening carefully to your thoughts. This forms a strong partnership of understanding and trust.
Listening well is a powerful talent no matter your job and improves with constant practice.
Suggest reading: 4 Exercises That Prove Listening Matters by Allison Press from the IDEO Blog
“An experience makes its appearance only when it is being said,” – Hannah Arendt
And if we do not hear it, it disappears.
We are told again and again, that the art of listening is the most important talent a person can have. To be able to really hear what other people are trying to share with us is an advantageous skill. Now we must ensure that the person or people you are listening to are comfortable so they will share their true thoughts. They must know that they are speaking with someone that is genuinely interested in what they have to say because, if that’s not true, why meet? When people are comfortable their true insights emerge, and we learn so much more. Honestly shared information from diverse backgrounds builds the foundation for the best new ideas. We want people to share what they really believe so together we can all get better.
For example, you have arranged a meeting at a trade show with a key vendor to discuss projections and the pricing schedule for the upcoming year. Now this meeting will require focus. Your vendor has been meeting with dozens of people from all over the world, each with unique challenges and cultural concerns. You have been skipping from booth to booth also talking with people from different countries and investigating everything from drains to crystal handles.
To make this meeting as productive as it must be, time clocks must slow down and all attendees need to be reset to focus on the opportunities to be discussed.
Let’s start with making all involved feel important. If it is a one-on-one meeting, shake their hand, look straight into their eyes and thank them for sharing their time. Make sure they know you are looking forward to this conversation. If it is a multi-person meeting, welcome everybody and take a moment and introduce everybody. Even if the group is familiar with each other, still take the time to bring them into the meeting by simply acknowledging each person directly.
Now, with everyone feeling comfortable, it is time to get to work and hear all of the amazing conversations.
A version of tis article appeared in the January 24, 202 issue of DPHA’s Newsletter, Connections