How well do you listen? Last Friday, I went along to a networking event and what happened made me think about listening skills. I asked a fellow networker what she did. What followed was a steady stream of sales pitch. After five minutes, she took a breath and asked me what I did. As soon as I had uttered that I was a coach and trainer, the flood continued. Have you experienced someone speaking at you? She told me how her company could help me, but other than my title, she didn’t know anything about me. After another five minutes she shoved a business card into my hand and told me that she had to go meet someone else! I felt a bit shell-shocked. Now since I do a fair bit of networking I happen to know about four people who do something very similar to her. I have a very good idea about what she does, but do you think I felt any rapport with her? Do you think I would ever do business with her?
I find it amazing how many times people will tell you what you should do or how they can help you without the slightest interest in who you are and what you want. How do you know about anyone unless you ask them and listen to their answer?
Never underestimate the power of listening with your full attention. Most people only listen for a gap in conversation so that they can speak. They appear to be listening, but they are thinking about what they are going to say. When someone listens to you as though you are the only person in the room, you feel very connected to them and you feel valued as a person.
You don’t have to have great oratory skills to have a good conversation. You have two ears and one mouth and those are the proportions we should be using them! The best listeners are generally considered to be the best conversationalists. Try asking people a question such as “What brought you to this event today?” and listen with attention to their answer.
Find out what impact listening can have for yourself.
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