Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Now Hear This: 5 Steps to Better Listening

In today’s noisy, busy digital world, the workplace has grown increasingly loud. In response, we’ve desensitized ourselves to everyday distractions by tuning out and zoning in. And in doing so, we’ve changed the way in which we communicate, often losing sight of the value of simply listening.

Listening remains one of the most important elements of business success, particularly in sales. When you really listen, you become fully engaged: Listening allows you to understand your customer’s problems, which better positions you to formulate a solution, and ultimately, provide greater value. That value creates trusted, long-term relationships.

Sound and communication expert and 5-time TED talker, Julian Treasure, captures the lesson succinctly: Conscious listening creates understanding. It follows, then, that better listening fosters the valued business relationships we seek to create.

So, is it possible to train ourselves to be better listeners? In one of his TED talks, Treasure offers five exercises to help improve conscious listening skills:

1. Silence. Take three minutes every day to re-set your ears and recalibrate.
2. Mixer. Notice the sounds around you: Even in a noisy environment, focus on identifying the various sounds and their channels.
3. Savor. Enjoy and appreciate the mundane sounds—rain, the washing machine, birds.
4. Listening positions. Take an active role in listening by moving and adjusting your physical position: Active, passive, reductive, critical.
5. RASA: Receive. Appreciate. Summarize. Ask.
  • Receive the sound: pay attention
  • Appreciate: show that person that you are hearing them—a nod, a smile, an affirmation
  • Summarize: use of the word “so” is important in reinforcing what you’ve heard
  • Ask questions about what you’ve heard

The link below connects to Treasure’s TED talk—five minutes out of your day well spent.

Do you have techniques or tips that you use to improve your listening? If so, I’d like to hear from you.

All the best,
Tim Connor

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