• Cynthia R Richards

How the Subtle Art of Active Listening Can Improve Your Business

Active Listening Diagram
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What Is Active Listening?

Have you attended a one-on-one meeting with someone and walked away feeling completely understood? This person really seemed to pay attention to what you said. Their body language was alert and attentive. They summarized your discussion to make certain they had captured the information correctly. This is Active Listening.

Each of us want to feel valued and respected. We seek out friendships with people who care about our well-being. They listen to our problems and our aspirations. We regularly avoid the acquaintances who talk exclusively about themselves rather than giving us equal time to share.

Our instinct is to trust healthcare providers that show appropriate concern for our painful symptoms. We will quickly dismiss the doctor who hurries out the door for their next appointment after shoving a hastily written prescription at us. And the contractor who disregards our ideas about the layout of kitchen cabinets will quickly lose our business.

Your customers are just like everyone else. They want to feel valued and respected. I guarantee actively listening to your customers will improve your business.

The Benefits of Active Listening

· Understanding the needs and wants of your customer will reduce potential delays and added costs

· Eliminates customer frustration

· Promotes positive “word of mouth” to build your brand and client list

Tips for Improving Your Listening Skills

· Take the time to write down key points in your initial conversation. What is the customer actually asking for? What are their concerns?

· Repeat back what you believe your customer asked for and make corrections

· Shelf your need to be right. Dictating rather than discussing won’t land you the customer’s business. If the customer is clearly moving in the wrong direction due to lack of knowledge, calmly explain your suggestions based on examples of past experiences

The Final and Most Important Tip – Be Where You Are!

Sit down and have a conversation person-to-person. Give the customer your full attention. Body language is key. Shifting in place or avoiding eye contact can make you appear distracted or uninterested in the conversation. You may ultimately lose the customer’s business.

#smallbusiness #activelistening #projectmanagement

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