The difference between hearing and listening can be the difference between career success and career failure.
Hearing is the way we perceive sound. Listening, particularly active listening, is something you choose to do. It requires a conscious effort to not only hear the words, but to listen for the complete message the speaker is sending. It is not automatic. It requires discipline and it takes practice.
In fact, said Dr. Ralph Nichols, “the Father in the Field of Listening, “the best way to understand people is to listen to them.”
Following are a few tips on how to improve your listening skills.
Tip 1: Listen to what is being said
Take the words at face value. Don’t read between the lines, yet.
Tip 2: Listen for the meaning
Now read between the lines. Listen beyond the words themselves to the emotional meaning of what is being said. Are they consistent? If not, ask for clarification after the sender has finished speaking.
Tip 3: Be aware of nonverbal communication
Observe the speaker’s body language, eye movements, and hand gestures. Are they consistent with what is being said, and the messages as you understand them? If not, ask for clarification.
Tip 4: Beware of the message you’re sending
Consider your own body language, eye movements, and hand gestures. Are you sending a message to the speaker that may influence the message they are sending you?
Tip 5: Do not interrupt the speaker
Let the speaker finish his/her thought before you start speaking. Interrupting is disrespectful and may cause the speaker not to listen to you when you speak.
For More Information
For more information on how to improve your listening skills, please consult our A Mentoring Kit for New Salespeople: Training For Success at http://www.orea.com/index.cfm/ci_id/14362/la_id/1.htm. This is a valuable resource for both brokers and salespeople.
Do you have any additional tips on how to improve listening skills? Let us know.