Listening has always a been deciding factor for a successful relationship. In a business perspective, as what James Cash Penney, founder of J. C. Penney stores said, “The art of effective listening is essential to clear communication, and clear communication is necessary to management success.” In today’s ever competitive business environment, companies that pay close attention to their customers’ feedback see threats more quickly, ensure brand consistency, and reduce churn rate.
From enquiries, social media interaction, to feedback and complaints, your customers – and people in general – will always have something to say about you and your business. Regardless, each interaction – either good or bad – provides information about how you can do better. In this post, we will learn about what active listening is, and how it can strengthen our personal and business relationship.
1. Active Listening Requires Engaged Listener
Whether you are practicing active listening for the business or for personal relationship, you have to check in with the person who is talking to make sure you hear and understand them effectively.
Active listening is about being fully present and reflective in how you listen to the person that you are supporting. While passive listening assures the person that there is someone who knows his/her situation, there’s a layer of presence and processing that’s involved in active listening that takes it to another level.
2. Active Listening is a Constant Work
Listening proactively requires a significant amount of emotional energy, that’s why it is impossible for it to take place all the time. What you can do instead is to ask the person directly if they want you to actively listen or just have a sounding board without that added level of processing.
3. Active Listening Doesn’t Make Difficult Conversations Easier
Talking to a frustrated employee? Is your wife/husband mad about something? Before you overthink, you need to understand that active listening is not about knowing the right thing to say; it’s about having the mindfulness and humility to sit with discomfort and acknowledge that you don’t have the answers.
If you are having difficult conversations with someone, having those active listening skills will help you move through it more gracefully because it allows you to really understand the person rather than getting caught up in your own story about that they can relate to.
4. Active Listening Promotes Intimacy
Too often, a person that is deeply longing to be seen, heard, and understood are seriously frustrated with their current relationship. Active listening is the key to reviving that lost intimacy and connection.
Regardless of relationship you have – friendships, collegial relationships, familial relationships, and romantic ones – if you practice active listening, you will be able to nourish the relationship and build a lasting connection with the person.
5. Active Listening and Empathy Build Deeper Bond
Both active listening and empathy requires the listener to engage and strive to understand a person’s inner world. When combined, these two skills can create a profound communication power. Empathy is accelerated by active listening, and these two particular interpersonal skills can do tremendously improve the quality of people’s relationships.
Below are some the tips to practice active listening today:
Face the speaker.
Maintain eye contact.
Minimise external distractions.
Respond appropriately to show that you understand.
Focus solely on what the speaker is saying. Try not to think about what you are going to say next.
Keep an open mind. Wait until the person is finished before deciding that you disagree. Try not to make assumptions about what the speaker is thinking.
Avoid telling the speaker how you handled a similar situation. Unless they specifically ask for advice, assume they just need to talk it out.
Even if the speaker is starting a grumble against you, wait until they finish to defend yourself. The speaker will feel as though their point had been made. They won’t feel the need to repeat it, and you’ll know the whole argument before you respond.
Engage yourself. Ask questions for clarification, but, once again, wait until the speaker has finished.
These are just some of the ways listening can help you establish a more meaningful relationship. When executed properly, it will not only allow you to keep the most valuable customers in your business but also be a better person for the people that you care the most as well.
Want to start a more meaningful business relationships today? Contact Healthy Business Builder today at 1300 833 574.