Have you ever gone to a party and found yourself drawn to person you’ve never met before, who seemed to be completely interested in you and everything you had to say? It’s like finding a new best friend, someone you seem to click with right away. That person usually only did one simple thing that made you feel special – they listened to you.
Listening seems to be a dying art. In today’s world of social media, oversharing, and selfies, we seem to be turning into people who want to showcase ourselves, but never really invest the time in learning about others. That can really hurt us in our personal lives and in our professional careers. If you are thinking that it’s a new year, and you want to turn things around in your business, this is one of the simplest things you can do that I promise will pay off. LISTEN.
As an extrovert myself, this is something I definitely had to work on in my own life and career. Early in my design business, I had so many ideas and thoughts that I wanted to share them immediately with my clients, without actually giving them the space and time to tell me what they wanted and needed. I once even had a client say, “Are you listening to me?” before I actually slowed down and thought about how this was impacting me and my business. Over my 17 years in business, I’ve learned to ask a lot of questions and to really and truly listen to what the other person is saying. It’s made a huge difference in my design work, and in my business as a whole! Who am I kidding – it’s helped my personal life, too!
It’s so critical to focus on what another person is telling us. It does more than just make them feel important – you can learn so much about the other person and what they need. But you are also giving them a great customer service experience that will improve your bottom line. After all, according to Jonah Berger in his book Contagious, when people talk about themselves and are given the opportunity to share opinions, it activates their brains like a reward does, like when they are given food or money. And all of those chemicals that make them feel good are giving them a really good feeling about YOU.
Remember though, you can’t sit there thinking about what you’re going to say next while you’re supposedly listening to that other person. You have to really LISTEN, taking in everything they are actually saying, as well as their body language and non-verbal cues. You want to lean in, to ask questions at the appropriate time, and to give them the spotlight that they want and deserve. Imagine what a different world we might have today if we spent more time focusing on someone else instead of taking yet another selfie.
Instead of being selfish with your time and attention, learn to give it away freely and openly. It will make you a better person, a better customer service provider, and a much more effective businessperson!
What do think of this simple but radical idea? Let me know in the comments section below. I’m listening!