God gave every one of us two ears and one mouth. Perhaps he was trying to tell us something. And, as is the case with many of us, we aren’t listening. Learning to listen is something every person needs to master if he wants to sell himself successfully.
Consider salespeople. If you sell a product or service you still must keep in mind that what you are really selling is you. You are the world’s number-one product. Every salesperson has learned somewhere along the line that by talking too much he has bought the product back in five minutes.
One of the hardest things in the world to do is to shut up. That’s as blunt as I can put it. More people fail to sell themselves because they are too busy talking. Most of us are so busy thinking about what we’re going to say next that what the other person is saying falls on deaf ears.
Make an honest effort to listen attentively to the other person. Besides, you might learn something. As the old saying goes, listening is the greater part of learning.
Here are twelve rules for learning to listen:
1. Keep your mouth shut so your ears will stay open.
2. Listen with all of your senses. Listen first with the ears. Keep them wide awake. Don’t settle for just 50 percent, get the whole story.
3. Listen with your eyes. Maintain eye contact, it shows you’re hanging on to every word.
4. Listen with your body. Lean forward to be more attentive. Present an alert appearance.
5. Be a mirror. Smile when the other person smiles frown when he or she frowns.
6. Don’t interrupt. That breaks the speaker’s train of thought. It breeds irritation.
7. Avoid outside interruptions. Try to go someplace where interruptions are less likely to occur.
8. Avoid sound distractions. Nothing in the background should compete with the person you’re listening to.
9. Avoid sight distractions. Don’t let an outside or inside view blind you to listening with your eyes.
10. Concentrate. Pay attention to the other person at all times.
11. Listen between the lines. A tone of voice, an offhand expression-are all tip offs that the person is saying something, but not in words.
12. Don’t be an ATANA. An ATANA is what I call people who are All Talk and No Action. Make your action one of listening carefully.
There they are: twelve good rules for learning to be a better listener and in doing so gaining a far better chance to sell yourself successfully.