Communication is not just about talking, it is about the act of sending an receiving messages. In fact, true communication happens when all persons in the conversation are engaged in uncovering and understanding the meaning behind the words. We are going to focus on the act receiving the message from the speaker, aka listening. But not just passively hearing words- we are talking about how to be an active listener. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of chatter! And good businesses do not run off chatter for long.
If your business is based on building and keeping relationships, you need to understand how to be an active listener! Most people consider listening to be a passive or an automatic process that just happens, rather than as a business relationship skill that is essential.
The Southern Marketing Team encourages you to be better listener, specifically an active listener. An active listener redirects their focus from what is going on inside of their head to focusing on the needs of your person speaking.
Here are some quick tips you can apply to your communication skills to become an an active listener:
- Pay attention and paraphrase the conversation to ensure your understanding.
- Ask open ended questions and let the other person respond and explain.
- Use engaging body language during the conversation, like making eye contact, leaning in, and or nodding your head to show understanding.
- Minimize distractions around the conversation, like turning off your phone, radio, or tv.
- Keep yourself out of the conversation– (No one likes a one-upper).
- Keep an open mind about the conversation topic and do not jump to conclusions prematurely.
As a marketing firm, we have found that without listening, there is a true lack of understanding. So, by listening to people in and around your business, you can better understand your business needs and address them. Give our active listening tips a try and become an active listener.