Monday, December 07, 2009

Communication Is All About Listening

Dear Friends,

How important is it to be a great listener?
Since many of use will be attending holiday parties over the next few weeks, you will be meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends, listening the greatest skill you can have.

All of these qualities and many more begin with LISTENING.

  • understanding
  • acknowledging
  • recognizing
  • problem solving
  • customizing
  • adapting
  • responding
  • influencing
  • building rapport
  • feeling special
  • respecting
  • feeling safe
  • trusting

How well do you listen?

There are many issues to overcome our sometimes inability to really listen.

First, the average person speaks at about 150 words per minute, yet we have the capacity to think at 600 words per minute.

So, when you catch yourself thinking about what you're going to say when the other person finishes instead of listening, relax, It's completely normal.

It's in our physiology.

There is however a few simple things we can do to improve our concentration on what the other person is saying.

This will help you to become an active listener.

We have all been in situations where we knew the other person understood us, what we were feeling, what we really wanted and maybe couldn't articulate it well, but yet we knew they knew what we meant.

Was it because the other person was a great listener or did they share a similar experience and could relate empathically?

In context, what is important to the other person can only be as important to you as the other person is to you.

In plain language, if you don't like the other person you won't really care about their problem.

You'll go through the motions and maybe slide by and even get their business...once.

Building a solid referral business is about relationships and solid relationships are about listening.

You know when people aren't really listening to you don't you?

They're eyes are looking past you or to the side at other things.
They seem unfocused on what you're saying.
They respond to your issue from a script.
They want their position known more than wanting yours to be understood.
They may even have that glazed look like they're someplace else.

How can you show someone that you're listening, really paying attention, and encourage them to tell you more?

To become an active listener is easy with a few simple tips. Use them at a upcoming party or networking event.

1. Use your body language to show interest.
Lean forward, make good eye contact and simply pay attention

2. Ask questions that relate to what they're saying.

3. If they're explaining a problem or situation, repeat back, (paraphrase) what they said to ensure understanding. (i.e. "Let me make sure I understand what you said"...or "What I just heard you say was....")

4. You can vocally acknowledge with a "uh-huh," "yes," or "mmm," every 15-20 seconds so that they know you're listening. If your on the phone and you hear them say "Are you still there?" you were too quiet.

5. In person, take notes. This will slow the conversation and evidence your attention.

6. Don't interrupt.

7. Don't clip the end of their sentences

8. Acknowledge what they said before changing direction in the conversation.

These simple exercises will demonstrate that you are an active listener.
It just takes a little practice.

Often we may hear the same problem over and over but from different people. If you've been in the business for any longer than a couple years, you think you've heard it all.

It's important to remember that each persons situation is brand spanking new to them and to give them the space and emotional environment to express their needs and wants.

Here's what you want others to think to themselves or say to one another after speaking with you:

"He knows what I want and what I don't want"
"She knows what's important to me and why"
"I'm finally understood. He gets it"
"I feel he can get us where we want to be"

In today's fast paced, high speed, what's next world giving someone the gift of your undivided attention and really listening is so powerful.

You may want to remember it this way: ATT

Attention + Time = Trust

Now repeat back what you've read in this "3 Minute Referral Tip" - practice starts now!

Thanks for spending 3 minutes with me.....
The best is yet to be!

On Your Team
Jeffrey Stanton ITI, CLC, CNE, CSSN, WOW
Your Trusted Advisor For Life

One of the fastest ways to build a successful business is by training. Now, with me, I like to invest significant time immersing myself in training, while some people prefer to take it in bite-size chunks. Whatever your preference is, now is the best time to contact me.

If you have found this tip useful, please share it with any friends, family, colleagues and associates who you think will be interested. Feel free to print it (with credit and subscription information) and continue to enjoy the tips. I am always grateful for any comments, criticisms or other feedback that you may have. Please send them to
Certified negotiation Expert (CNE) Designation Training

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