It’s a common situation. You are finally in front of that ideal potential new business prospect, you’ve researched their business & competitors as per my previous post& you are keen to start firing questions. After all you want to impress them with your knowledge, years of experience & show them how keen you are to work with them! At the first opportunity or slight pause you are off.
BTW I’m not taking about just hearing or even worse just waiting for a gap to speak but hard, focussed listening. If done correctly it can;
- help solve problems & disagreements – not just at work!
- help us learn by seeing opinions through other people’s eye
- improve our empathy & understanding
If you achieve these 3 in your meetings then you are well on the way to exploring potentials where you can add some value & hopefully win some business.
The question is, how do you become a good listener? There are lots of descriptors about the right type of listening & the attributes you should display but I found this pretty good checklist to run through whilst in reception;
- Look for other person’s point-of-view & feelings
- Involve yourself in the conversation
- Summarise to confirm your understanding
- Takes notes
- Evaluate what’s being said
- Neutral about your own views
And yes it spells LISTEN!
Often we can find ourselves starting to form opinions & judgements as we walk in the door or after the first introductions. I’ve found a good tip is to use the simple act of opening my note book or more recently launching Word on my tablet as a prompt to clear my mind ready to begin listening.
We know ourselves how good it feels when someone else understands what we are saying. We finish the meeting with a real sense of purpose & knowing we can now get on with some positive actions – all because someone took the time to really listen!