What kind of letter grade would you get on listening? Would your customers, staff, vendors, family and friends say you are a great listening? Would God say you listen well?
Listening is a key theme in Scripture. Proverbs is filled with encouragement to listen. James 1:19 tells us, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
Being a great listener is also a key trait for success in business. Great listening goes beyond sitting politely until it’s your turn to speak. Being a master listener goes beyond just hearing words. It also includes making eye contact, taking notes, making others feel heard and respected, listening to what’s not being said and heeding the advice of others when appropriate. Attentive listening isn’t as easy or as simple as it sounds. But, it’s definitely a skill everyone can learn and intentionally improve.
Here are three simple but powerful tips for putting on your listening ears:
1. Take a 3-Count – If you are in the middle of a good conversation it can be hard to keep a lid on your enthusiasm. So, whenever you feel like quickly jumping into a conversation, take a 3-count. Slowly count 1, 2 and 3 before you speak. This will help to ensure that the other person has actually stopped talking. It also gives you time to truly consider what the other person has said plus it gives you the chance to form your thoughts.
“One of the sincerest forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”
-Bryant H. McGill, serial entrepreneur
2. Keep Things Open – When you meet new people, try to ask as many open-ended questions as possible. This will help get them talking. It will also help you to get to know what makes someone tick, their interests, what’s really important to them and find common ground with you.
3. Eye Contact – It’s been said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. You can learn a lot about someone from their eyes. An eye-to-eye connection is also a great way to form a quick bond with someone. Your eyes can help someone know that you care about them. One key is to maintain eye contact when they are speaking. This will also make it easier for you to understand them in a noisy environment. Maintain eye contact when you are speaking too!
These three tips are by no means exhaustive, however, they are a great start towards growing the success of your business by becoming a better listener.
What could you do today to take your listening to the next level?