How do you listen when you are talking to someone? Whether it’s a client or a family member or a friend? Or perhaps when on a webinar or teleseminar or a face-to-face training course? Are you ”really listening” to what they are saying?
And when I say ”really listening” I mean do they have your full attention or are you at the same time looking at your phone or mobile device, glancing at your computer screen or perhaps more or less mentally checked out and thinking about the next meeting or your to do list?
I’d like to be able to put my hand up and say every conversation I have, every thing that I’m listening to has 100% of my attention but that just wouldn’t be true. And if I’m honest one of the worst things for me is using Skype as it’s so tempting to sit and talk and watch emails coming in, click on Facebook and so on. Now I’m not suggesting that I do it all the time but there are times my mind wanders and I apologise if you were on the other end of the call when that happened!
Sometimes we give ourselves away as we sound distracted or even bored and the other person senses this and guess what? It doesn’t give them a great feeling. And if they are a customer or a potential customer it certainly doesn’t give them a great picture of the customer service you provide and if its a family member or friend then what value do they perceive you are giving that conversation or them. And whilst that might sound like their thinking in essence there is truth to it in that moment otherwise you would be giving them your full attention wouldn’t you.
So it’s not so much about the things you are doing but more about the things that you aren’t doing in that moment particularly connecting with the person/people you are in conversation with.
And it’s through the feeling of connection and being connected that bonds are made, real relationships form and people truly engage with you. And when they are connected with you from that place and engaged with you is when the important things really happen. Only then can you be of real service.
The other thing we tend to do, when we are in conversation with people or listening to someone speak or present, is start to run all sorts of filters assessing in that moment what we agree with or don’t, what’s of interest or not, what’s important or not. And usually that’s all about us, the ”what’s in it for me” internal check.
Again if we perceive in that moment that what the person is talking about isn’t of importance to us or won’t help us, we don’t agree with it or it’s not interesting or relevant then we aren’t present and we aren’t connected to that person. And we certainly aren’t being of service.
Even if it’s on a subconscious level the other person will pick up that you aren’t fully engaged and it will shift the conversation. It may feel that to them the conversation/presentation has ”become hard work” and that again will change their perception of and belief about you and where it’s a business conversation about your business.
And if we are running all of those ”what’s in it me” filters and checks then are we personally getting the best from the conversation? Might we be missing something? In fact are we in danger of missing the whole thing as once we’ve dismissed part of a conversation that generally invalidates the best opportunities for us. And if it’s something like a conversation with a client I wonder if you, like me, have had a tendency to go into immediate problem solving mode or work mode before I have heard everything? So again I’m not fully listening as I’m focusing on the solutions and not on the whole conversations and the person albeit I had the best intention as I think in that moment my role is to problem solve or critique. Sometimes people just want to talk out loud and and at the end of the conversation they’ll ask what they want of you.
I’ve learnt to listen more to what people are saying, be present and get connected to them and it makes a difference to the quality of the conversation, the quality of the relationship and enables me to be of real service to those people.
So how about the next time you have a conversation with a client, turning off your computer screen or mobile? Following the old adage of ”we have one mouth and two ears” and use those in the same proportion in a conversation? Or if you are on a tele-seminar stepping away from the computer and sitting quietly to listen? If you are on a webinar or using Skype then turn off email and social media? And if it’s a face to face conversation then make sure phones are off (not silent but off as screens still flash and distract), face the person and make frequent eye contact with them.
And if the conversation wasn’t scheduled be honest if it’s not the best time for you and set a time to call back when you can give the person your full attention.
Being of greater service to your clients, your family, friends, business associates and colleagues will make a difference to all of you and who knows what opportunities that might lead to?
If you’d like to find out more about my thoughts on this, then why not call me on +44 (0) 1296 681 094, click here to ping me an email or even leave a comment below.
Until next time …