The Lost Art Of Listening

One of my favorite estimates from the Bible is James 1:19 – “Be gradual to speak, decrease to anger and quick to listen.” That says everything about! God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason and I really believe we should utilize them in proportion. Listening is an art. It really is a creative art that, generally, today has been lost in society.

In business and in your individual life being a poor listener can involve some devastating effects. Within my business, I network A LOT – Chamber of Business occasions, networking groups, civic organizations, referral organizations, etc which is readily apparent that listening is an art that appears to deteriorate with each transferring day.

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If you are suffering from bad listening behaviors over the years and are committed to improving it, you must just work at it exactly like any habit. It shall require patience, discipline, and practice. It’s no different than starting an exercise routine or give up smoking or biting your nails. EXACTLY WHAT DOES THIS WANT TO DO WITH BUSINESS?

In business as in life, your primary aim should be to build trust. Nothing develops trust faster than listening (other than, perhaps, conserving someone’s life). THAT IS WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO YOUR BUSINESS! Would you concur that the more someone talks, the more they as if you? Let’s conduct a short self-assessment: Are you a good listener?

Do people feel better or worse after they have been with you? Would others describe you as a good listener? Do you pay attention with your eyes? You should do more than listen to the spoken words; you must read body language, interpret what is NOT being said. Do you seek to understand rather than to be realized? If you are simply pushing your own agenda on someone or cramming your talking points down their throat, you may as well turn your back to the person.

The impact of both behaviours is the same. There is certainly nothing worse when compared to a salesperson who’s so focused on pursuing their script as to miss a buying signal. Do you ask great questions? Asking great questions is the secret to great hearing. However, the ability to ask great questions is based on your ability to be always a relaxed listener. In its simplest form, a peaceful listener is a person who is more focused on what the other person is saying rather than their intended response. Think of yourself as a reporter. That is clearly a great, all-purpose question that provides the loudspeaker permission to expand upon what they are saying.

2. Learn to archive your replies. This requires practice. When you listen to something that you want to touch upon, archive it in the human brain rather than staying focused on your response. Think of your brain as a filing cabinet where you file away your comment for later use (in cases like this whenever the speaker stops talking). If you don’t practice this archiving technique, you shall probably stop hearing as your complete concentrate is on your designed response. Imagine how detrimental that might be if in a sales situation. You have essentially ended the conversation without the other person’s knowledge. Make hearing sounds – “I see”, “I understand”, nod your head, smile, grimace, slim forward. Restate what’s said.

I’ve known plenty of individuals that used convenient man type professions. They loved to talk about the work they do (and for who – sometimes local superstars) and it allowed them to pseudo-retire without ever touching their retirement nest-egg. If, in the beginning paragraphs of the article, your eye lit up at the idea of impacting someone’s life and making a genuine difference nowadays, then this is likely the tiny business option for you.