You Hear Me, But Are You Listening?

Refs

Many people use the terms hear and listen interchangeably; that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Hearing is done with an organ in your body.  Listening is a whole different animal.  It requires some thought and action.

One of the most frustrating conversations that can take place is a one-sided one.  You’re trying to tell someone something that you’d like them to know.  They hear you, they’re just not listening and you know it.  Sometimes we wonder why we talk to them at all.  Eventually we may just stop.  What will the cost be to them?  In business it could be huge.

If you don’t recognize this type of person, it could be you.  Some telltale signs someone is not listening:

  • Expressionless face– couldn’t care one way or the other about the conversation taking place
  • Mouth half open –ready to jump in the second you take a breath
  • Far-off gaze–maybe trying to perfect their first sentence or repeating a point in their head so they don’t forget it
  • Actually interrupting you or speaking to someone else who may walk past
  • Texting or emailing while the other person is talking

Think you could be guilty or just want to be a better listener?  Here are some ways to better engage in conversations:

  • Ask questions and really listen to the responses
  • Make eye contact, don’t look around the room for other people
  • Pause for a second or two before your responses
  • Put yourself in their shoes rather than trying to one-up them

Maybe a heavy dependence on social media has lessened the practice of being a good listener.  But in business you have to listen to build relationships.  Because ultimately people come and go; people change jobs or companies.  If you’ve worked to build those relationships and can listen to what a client wants, you’re more likely to get the call than someone who cannot hold a conversation.

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