Whether you are in sales, service, leadership or all three, your ability to communicate is key to your success. One of my clients, a company already getting stellar results with their client relationships, wants to take those a notch higher and deepen their relationships even more. If they can do that, and increase their contract renewal rate by even just a few points, everybody profits – customers, employees and the communities they serve.
So here I am getting prepared for that workshop. That caused me to dust off and revitalize my secrets for more effective listening. I’d love to share them.
JoAnna Brandi’s 25 Secrets For More Effective Listening
“The ears hear and the heart listens”
Recognize that listening is something you do for personal success.
Listening is not just to be polite, or “nice”. Good listening earns power, respect, and gets you the information you need to be effective. Good listening is discipline with a vision of trust and understanding.
Want to listen better.
View listening as a small investment of time and energy that produces an enormous return in understanding and connection. Make the commitment to listen to understand, not just reply.
Become less self centered.
You may be the only one that believes what you have to say is more important than the other person. Maybe you’re wrong. Keep an open, curious mind.
You can’t talk and listen at the same time. Take a breath, drop your awareness down into your heart and then open your ears.
Prepare in advance.
Plan your remarks and questions ahead of time. Preparation frees your mind for listening.
Work hard at listening. Be present.
Concentrate. Focus your mind on what the other person is saying. Practice shutting out distractions. Don’t rush to fill silence.
Visualize the speaker.
That is, if you are on the phone. If you are with them, make appropriate eye contact.
Listen for ideas and feelings, not only words.
Get the whole picture. Listen for the emotional tone. Convey empathy.
Think like the “customer”.
Consider things from the speaker’s point of view, you’ll understand and retain better.
Hold your fire!
Don’t interrupt! Suspend judgments and hold your rebuttal. Let defensiveness go, it won’t get you anywhere.
Check for non-verbal cues.
What is speaker saying with body language, tone of voice etc. Listen for overtones and undercurrents. Pay attention to how they react to what you say.
Use listening responses.
“Yes”, “Uh-huh”, head nods and other body signals.
Use Invitations to expand.
“Tell me more.” “That’s interesting.” “Then what..?”
Be selective though, so to maintain attention.
If you are not sure you understand, ask. Ask questions designed to give you more information. “Help me understand what you mean when you say…” or “Do you mean…?”
Clarify and confirm.
Rephrase to check for understanding. “So what I hear you saying is…” “If I understand you correctly…”
Use mirroring and matching.
Build and stay in rapport. Use similar language, gestures, tempo and tone.
Don’t make assumptions.
Avoid making unwarranted assumptions about what the speaker is going to say, even if you think you know what that is.
Hold an open mind.
Practice making the decisions you need to make about people and events without drawing conclusions too soon. Once you have drawn a conclusion you expend energy defending it.
Don’t plan your response.
If you are planning your response you are not listening.
React to the ideas not the person.
Ignore irritating habits or unusual accents that may distract from the message.
Use affirmations to stay present.
“Right now, understanding this person’s feelings is the most important thing in my life.” Be totally present in the moment.
Use the ‘AAA’ method of affirming.
Acknowledge, Amplify and Anchor a person’s ideas, strengths and what’s good about the situation.
Like every other skill you improve with practice. Practice in ordinary conversation with coworkers, spouses, and friends. Listening actively and well will improve all your relationships.
Enjoy the art of listening as a Learning Experience.
©JoAnna Brandi & Company, Inc. 561-279-0027