In the fast-paced world that we are living in, great communication can sometimes be left on the sidelines.
The downside of doing this is that it can lead to clients feeling frustrated and generate complaints when their needs haven't been met. Ask yourself this: When you listen to a client’s needs, are you actually listening?
Have you thought about what type of listener you are on a daily basis?
- Preoccupied with you own thoughts
- Not paying attention
- Hear words but don’t absorb meaning
- Provide vague answers
- Only takes meaning from areas of interest
- Differing views mean they cease to listen and simply provide their own ideas
- Best listeners
- Listens with patience and open mind
- Completely focused on speaker
Active listening is an invaluable skill that can really help you with some of life's little challenges when you have actually understood what the client wants.
Here are some steps to help you become an active listener:
- Commit to attention
- Remove distractions
- Clear your mind of preconceived ideas and emotions
- Give your time and focus on the client
- Listen for the message, not just the words
- Wait for the message to finish before formulating a response
- Allow the speaker to communicate without interruption
- Wait for the speaker to conclude before jumping in or responding
- Show the speaker that you're paying attention
- Confirm your interpretation of what was said
- Allow the speaker to clarify
- Ask questions to identify further information
- Repeat until you are satisfied the message was amply conveyed and has been received
As a species, we are highly social and the most valuable thing that you can give someone is your time. The next time you are in conversation with someone, try to really listen – you might be pleasantly surprised with what you find.