How many of you ever had a course in listening skills?
“How to listen” lessons were never offered as part of any formal education. It’s amazing… the skills we need the most are never taught in school.
We watch Netflix, listen to podcasts, and put our favorite songs on shuffle. We can quote the episode the next day, or sing the songs word for word. But if your spouse or child says something, you say, “What?” or “I didn’t hear you.”
How often do you ask someone to repeat what they said? How often do you hear, “You weren’t listening to a word I said.”
The two biggest impediments to listening are:
- I often have an opinion (of you or what you’re going to say) before I begin listening.
- I often have made up my mind before I begin listening, or before I hear the full story.
The two important rules of effective listening must be observed in this order or you will not be an effective listener:
- Listen with the intent to understand.
- Listen with the intent to respond.
Think about the way you listen.
- Are you listening with one ear or two? (Halflistening means doing something while someone else is talking.)
- Are you doing something else when someone is speaking?
- Do you have your mind on something else when someone is speaking?
- Do you fake listening so you can get in your comments?
- Are you waiting for a pause to get in your response?
- At some point you stop listening. When does that occur?
- After you have formulated your response.
- After you have been turned off by the speaker.
- When you decide to interrupt someone to say something.
- When the person speaking isn’t saying anything you want to hear.
Here are 14 guidelines to observe that will maximize your listening skills, increase your productivity, reduce errors, gain customer satisfaction and help you make more sales:
- Don’t interrupt. (But…but…but)
- Ask questions. Then be quiet. Concentrate on really listening.
- Prejudice will distort what you hear. Listen without prejudging.
- Use eye contact and listening noises (um, gee, I see, oh) to show the other person you’re listening.
- Don’t jump to the answer before you hear the ENTIRE situation.
- Listen for purpose, details, and conclusions.
- Active listening involves interpreting. Interpret quietly.
- Listen to what is not said. Implied is often more important than spoken.
- Think between sentences.
- Digest what is said (and not said) before engaging your mouth.
- Ask questions to be sure you understood what was said or meant.
- Ask questions to be sure the speaker said all he/she wanted to say.
- Demonstrate you are listening by taking action.
- If you’re thinking during speaking, think solution. Don’t embellish the problem.
What causes people not to listen?
- Sometimes people are afraid to hear what is about to be said so they block it out. Don’t be afraid to listen.
- Sometimes you take the other person for granted spouse, parent, child.
- Sometimes you’re mentally preoccupied with other things.
- Sometimes you’re just rude.
- Sometimes the person grates on you, so you don’t listen.
- Sometimes you have other things on your mind.
- Sometimes you know the person speaking, and have prejudged them.
- Sometimes you don’t respect the other person and block the listening process.
- Sometimes you think you already know what is about to be said.
- Sometimes you think you know it all… or is that all the time?
There are many secrets to becoming a good listener, but the one that simplifies them all is: Just Shutup!
Toward Error Free Positive Communication, from The Sales Bible. Don’t let poor communication keep you from the sale. Just go to www.gitomer.com click Access GitBit/RedBit register if you are a new user and enter the words: ERROR FREE