We all know people who just love to talk,talk, and talk. It gets to the point that listening to their silence becomes a very gratifying experience because it’s so rare. Why don’t they just shut up? Don’t they realize this is hurting their business and personal relationships? Don’t they have a clue how annoying this is to others around them? How can they possibly not know this when it’s so obvious to everyone else? That’s just it. In most cases, they are not aware. They’ve been this way for so long, they don’t see things from the other person’s perspective.
Fortunately, talking constantly is a trait that’s easy to fix if you follow this simple advice. I call it Girard’s Success Pattern: LISTEN. THINK. SPEAK. There’s an old saying: “The less you say, the more you say”.
On the other hand, if you talk too much, you stand a very good chance of making the wrong statement about yourself and talking yourself right out of an opportunity. If you’re not talking, then you must be listening. When the person you’re with notices you listening to them intently, their positive impression of you grows. You’re the kind of person they want to be with or do business with. The best way to sell yourself is to let the other person do most of the talking. Focus first on their favorite topic: themselves. All people have a need to be heard!
What are the steps to follow that will change just hearing someone’s words into listening as an art form? Here they are—12 of them—in a convenient list for you to review and reference:
Keep your mouth shut so your ears can stay open.
Listen with all your senses. Get the whole story. Be observant. Use all of your senses of observation, not just your ears. When you add up all the things you observe in others, you get a much more complete picture of the person and what they’re really saying to you.
Listen with your eyes. Maintain eye contact. Focus on each word.
Listen with your body. Use body language to communicate. Sit up straight. Lean forward. Be alert.
Be a mirror. Smile when the other person smiles. Nod when she nods. Frown (with understanding) when she frowns.
Don’t interrupt. Don’t break the speaker’s train of thought or irritate her.
Avoid outside interruptions. Hold all phone calls when you’re with a prospect, or go somewhere where interruptions are least likely.
Avoid sound distractions. Turn off cell phones, radios, TVs, background music. Nothing should compete with your prospect for attention.
Avoid sight distractions. Don’t let an outside or inside office window view compete with you for the undivided attention of your prospect.
Concentrate. Pay attention to the other person at all times. Don’t yawn, look at your watch or do anything else that could make the prospect feel uncomfortable or unimportant.
Listen “between the lines”. Try to hear the “fine print”. Is the person “saying” something to you, just not with words? Read her body language.
Don’t be an ATANA (All Talk and No Action) your action should be listening carefully.
These are the 12 steps for learning to listen. If you commit to following these guidelines as part of your daily plan, good listening habits will become second nature to you. In no time you’ll be well on your way to mastering the fine art of good listening—an essential ingredient of all successful people.
Photo Credits- No Bullets