Listening is something we do intuitively or is it? Active Listening has been given a lot of attention in the past 5 years, arguably for good reason, as business leaders include listening as a top skill to success, so why is it so important?
Listening is a key part of communication and communicating is at the center of your business. The events of the past year have meant employees on a global scale have been ‘working from home’. Communication has been primarily virtual and has needed to be clearer, to the point and cohesive like never before.
Research shows that 55% of our time is spent listening but 75% of that listening time we are ‘distracted, preoccupied or forgetful’. So you can see why in a busy work environment, listening often falls short. But in the digital age, when you are decision-making or onboarding clients, whether on Zoom, a call or via email, your client needs to feel at the center of the conversation. This is done through really listening.
Here’s are 3 simple ways for you to activate your Active Listening button:
- Pay attention and mimic: listen to what they’re actually saying and react using your body language. Famously mirroring others' body language through unconscious mimicry is crucial when listening - but try not to overthink it. This is as important on video calls, these indicative movements like eye contact and measured gesticulation are crucial to show you are listening.
- Summarise or repeat it back: try and tie points together or comment on a specific subject they have touched on. This shows your listener that you care about what they have to say and in turn helps build rapport.
- Wait and respond appropriately: answer their question or add to what they have said. You may want to interject with your point or question but to communicate with someone properly, it is important to respond to what has been said. An article from 2011 Harvard Business Review postulates, we should listen ten times more than we speak, this should be kept in mind, whether in person or on the phone.
There is a strong dichotomy between listening and communication that has been identified and nurturing these natural human behaviors is crucial. But it is important to note, listening is not hearing. Voices, sounds and noises can blur into background noise. Whether a sprinkle, splish or splash, a bus horn, a pan banging, or chatter in a dining room, when you stop and overt your ears, you get the fuller picture. This results in better choices and overall better communication.
Active listening is only part of the puzzle but what is clear is we can work remotely, anywhere and communicate cross-platform just as long as we listen!
We are well equipped to listen to your sales and marketing needs and would love to hear from you. Contact us for our specialist and expert in house marketing and sales teams via our website, email or on our socials.
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