I’ve talked a lot about business situations in which listening is key to understanding what your client or prospect wants or needs. I remember getting a drink of water one day and overhearing a customer tell a salesman about the size of a fish he had recently caught and how proud he was of the catch. Instead of complimenting the man, the salesman responded with, “That ain’t nothing. You should have seen the one I caught!” When coming back from a demo ride, I noticed another customer pulling out a photo of her daughter as her eyes lit up with pride. The salesperson said, “Want to see a picture of my kids?”
The lesson couldn’t be more simple: Nobody gives a damn about your fish or kids–NOT AT THIS MOMENT. It’s all about HIS FISH and HER KID! The need to be heard is not something that pertains just to selling either. Teachers need to be tuned in to their students to help them with their education. Lawyers need to listen intently to their clients to prepare effective cases. And certainly politicians need to listen to the voice of the people they represent in order to enact effective legislation. Perhaps the best example is psychiatrists. You seldom hear them talk. They’re there to listen. If more people would behave like psychiatrists, they’d get a lot further ahead in life. Listen when people are talking to you, everyone needs to be heard!
Listening also plays a significant role on the home front in your family life. What your spouse has to say matters. If it affects you both, you need to listen because it’s important to your future together. That’s how your love and respect for one another deepens and grows. Listen. Think. Speak. If you’re a parent, listening is critically important when it comes to your kids. They have things to tell you. They look to you to help them learn. Be a compassionate parent. Show them the love and care they deserve. Give them your undivided attention and the opportunity to be heard. Many a child has made a left turn early in life because they had a parent, or parents, who never listened to them. They only told them what was wrong with them and turned a dear ear to whatever the child said. Pretty soon they begin to believe they’re not worth much. And that’s when the trouble begins. I know. I was one of those kids. My father’s indifference to me hurts to this very day. Thank God for my mother. There’s nothing more satisfying in life than knowing that the people you care about most see you listening to them with love, respect and with your undivided attention.
My message is all about people–how to reach them, and how to touch them deep down inside in their innermost secret place where all their important decisions are made. I know them well because I listen to them with my entire being! You must make an honest effort to pay attention to what is being said to you. Winston Churchill had it right when he said, “Speech is silver and silence is golden”. The need to be heard is a universal desire, stop talking and pay careful attention to what is being said to you. The fine art of good listening is an essential ingredient of all successful people.