As we think about our everyday life, we find most problems occur because we have failed to communicate clearly with someone. If we take a moment to think about why, in almost every case, we find that someone did not listen to what was said. This holds true in sales as well as in our personal lives.
If we are to have effective communication with each person we talk with, we must “tune the world out and the person in.” This action allows us to build rapport and trust much quicker with the person to whom we are talking. The more trust between you and them, the more openly they will share information. The rapport and trust you have will only increase if you follow this simple action guide each time you communicate with people.
The following are 10 dos and 10 don’ts that will improve your listening skills and overall communication:
- Be patient
- Make eye contact
- Take brief notes of key points
- Offer nonverbal and verbal encouragement (facial expressions, head nodding, ‘mm-hmms’)
- Read between the lines for the emotional message - wants, frustrations, etc.
- Allow for periods of silence
- Let the person speak as long as they want
- Ask clarifying questions at the end
- Summarize what’s been covered
- Assume you haven’t understood everything correctly
- Half-listen, filter or selectively listen
- Make assumptions about what clients mean before they say something
- Jump to conclusions
- Be too eager to talk about your solution
- Agree too readily, without hearing the customer out
- Finish the client’s sentences
- Take so many notes that you never look up
- Click your pen, tap your fingers or otherwise distract the customer or yourself
Being courteous and attentive when you are communicating with people always allows them to share more detailed information and feel good about doing so.
Practicing these tips and following an action plan for 21 to 28 days will make it a habit for you. Once you do this automatically, your sales will increase and day-to-day communication with everyone will improve.
Regardless of how well you know someone, show them you really care; actively listen -- Really Listen -- to what they say each time you talk to them.
Source: Billy Williams, People Development Company, Silver City, NC