Anyone can hear, but not everybody listens. Effective listening is one of the most overlooked skills in society. Majority of people listen to respond, or they listen with a filter of their own biases and opinions.

It is not what you hear that matters, but rather what is actually being said. Most people think of listening as a passive activity. This is not correct! Rather, when you are actively and effectively listening, you are fully concentrated on, and engaged in what someone else is telling you. The more you can actually listening a conversation, the more you will learn about the person speaking or the topic at hand. In fact, your overall capacity for learning greatly increases when you learn to effectively listen.

On the other hand, when you are not listening with full attention, you may miss specific or important details. You may also misunderstand or misinterpret what is being said. After the conversation is over, you might not even remember everything the other person said.

Successful and wealthy people understand the power of effective listening. In fact, if you pay close attention, you will notice that they are usually fairly quiet in group settings. This is because they understand that by effectively listening they can absorb what is being said or going on around them learn. Furthermore, with this new information they can learn, grow, and gain wisdom.

In business, active listening is an absolute must! This is not only important for absorbing and remembering all the details, but it also shows the other person that you are listening and care about what he or she is saying. When initially engaging with a potential new client or prospect, be intentional about listening with full attention. This initial conversation sets the tone for all future conversations you have with this client. When he or she notices that you are paying full attention to their requests, desires, or needs, they will be more receptive and open to working with you in business. Learn this one, very important skill, and you will build a great deal of trust between you and those you do business with.

Listening is a necessary skill needed in the pursuit of entrepreneurship. However it doesn’t necessarily come naturally. Listening is an art that must be learned and practiced — it requires you to use full observation with your ears, eyes, and all your senses.

To start the habit of effectively listening, here are some ways to help you practice listening in your next conversation:

  • Pay FULL attention! Don’t doze off or think about what you want to say. Pause your ideas and thoughts, and attentively observe and listen to the other person.
  • Don’t interrupt or talk over the speaker. You may notice your opinions or biases start to arise; push these to the side and wait until the other person is done speaking.
  • Remember, effective listening requires all your senses! Use your body language – lean forward towards the speaker, maintain eye contact, or nod your head in agreement.
  • Body language and using senses can be a two-way street here. Notice the speaker’s body language or tone of voice; this can help you to interpret the meaning behind what he or she is saying.
  • Acknowledge the speaker’s point of view. In responding to the speaker, repeat back what he or she just told you. This lets the speaker know how you interpreted what you heard. Incase you interpreted the information differently than they intended, they now have the opportunity to clarify.

COACH’S TIP

Have you ever heard of the “mirror and matching” techniques?  If you’ve been in the sales game, I am almost certain you have. And if you’ve had a great deal of success in sales, my guess is that you’ve effectively deployed these techniques throughout your career.  

It is likely obvious, then, that effective listening is crucial when aiming to mirror and match the prospect on the other side of the table.  Mirror and matching are techniques of NLP (neuro linguistic programming) used to gain rapport – your goal is to become like the person with whom you need to make a connection.  Fully listening to the content, tonality, and feeling shared by the prospect allows you to then adjust your style to create a stronger connection. Try listening with more intent on your next listing appointment and report back on the results!