Thursday, 3 July 2014

Hearing Vs Listening... You can hear but are you really listening?

As I close my eyes I can recall very clearly my father’s voice as he said to me (on many occasions) growing up, Fiona Ellen Blayney “you’re not listening to me.” I’d protest that I was, even to the point of repeating verbatim his dialogue only to receive the response, “Fiona you are hearing me, I want you to listen”.

Flash forward to 2014 and these words carry far greater meaning in my life, the difference between hearing and listening be that to a client, colleague, friend or family member carry an intense difference which can really define the result of the conversation. In my business world this will certainly impact the advice that I give and the decisions that my clients make.

Over to you for this to be considered. Are you listening to clients? I mean really listening? Or do you hear what they say, pay lip service and carry on brandishing every landlord or tenant with the same brush, the same approach and the same thoughts simply because it is a “similar situation”.

The similarities between events, people and properties should not ensue that you provide same advice, or take the same actions, thinking everyone wants the same outcomes. How do you really define the difference? It’s through listening. A few tips to get you to listen rather than hear…..
  1. Close your mouth, and open not just your ears but your mind. Clear the thoughts of previous conversations and situations
  2. Stop thinking about how you are going to respond and instead take time to ask questions and dig deeper
  3. Get to know the “talker”, when you can understand things from the other perspective you will have a far greater ability to listen
  4. Focus! Remove the distractions that prevent you from giving your total attention in the discussion. Turn off emails, social media, and ignore the phone or others attempting to take up your thoughts.
  5. Be Real, Be Present. Whilst another person’s perspective may be completely different to yours, you may think them irrational, or unreasonable – remember you are not them! You have not walked a day in their shoes, to them whatever is happening at that moment is significant enough to require this piece of communication, honour it and respect them
These are just five elements of what is the maze that is communication; I truly believe that one of life’s best skills is the art of effective communication. One of my favourite business writers is John C Maxwell, I’d love to give you a copy of the abridged version of his book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. Click here and we’ll send it off to you!

If you are Real+ member, click here to visit Real TV where you can watch the webinar, 'Communication Concepts: Hearing vs Listening'

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