We often walk into places so full of noise. A coffee shop, a mall, our workplaces and even our own homes. Noises and sounds surround us. One thing that we can gain from listening to these noises and sounds is information. This is called learning through listening.
Listening has been one of the key methods in learning for a very long time. Going beyond education, it helps people understand others better, it builds trust and also makes others feel important. It is one of the key skills that can make or break a situation.
One general aspect of listening includes voice pitch, tones of voices and speed of the speaker (also known as paralinguistic). You can tell if a person in happy, sad or frustrated by just paying attention to paralinguistic.
Listening helps you become more aware of your surroundings. You hear your pet dog bark aggressively, that would probably mean there is danger nearby. You hear someone scream, that person probably needs help (or saw a flying cockroach).
One key category of listening that has truly played a role to me as a marketing student is active listening. Active listening, in short, is basically a process of properly listening then responding. These responses are usually follow up questions to try and gain a perfect understanding of what the speaker is saying.
The process of active listening plays a huge role in understanding a person’s wants and needs. It also helps us understand how we can make people feel more satisfied. You can even tell if a person likes or dislikes something by how they speak over a phone call.
My (intern) colleague and I recently got the opportunity to sit in a meeting with a potential client for the Techy Hub. Watching the whole process was very interesting. We were very intrigued with how well a short 40 minutes or so meeting went. The clients who walked in looking fairly nervous walked out with smiles on their faces with a sense of confidence.
Some really great take away points that we’d like to share are these:
1) The 60:40 Rule
This rule is really simple. Based on what we observed, listen 60% of the time and talk 40% of the time. Now it gets a little trickier, whatever is spoken should be of relevance. You do not want to bombard them with so much overwhelming information and/or jargon.
You should share with them the relevant information based on what they have said. Along the whole process, it is also important that you ask them follow-up questions. For example, “Based on what you said, this is how I understand it”, make sure you understand them completely before doing anything else! (Remember the Dalai Lama quote?)
Most of us also probably have dealt with people who talk too much and/or demand the world when they ask for something. That can honestly just make us want to close our ears and walk away. But we should not. However, we should feel that it is important to be very patient with your clients.
Sometimes they will spout the most demanding and unreasonable requests in the world. Or they could even be suggesting the most impossible and unrealistic requests or take hours to get to the point. However, don’t lose your cool.
Breathe, listen, digest then explain to them in a patient and calm manner as to why something will not work. If you explain it in a calm manner, you get to build the amount of confidence that they have in you. It also shows that you respect their requests (especially when they approach you for your service).
3) Listening Shows You Care
Everyone knows the key to gaining a loyal client is to have them trust you and you gain their trust by building a relationship with them (a professional one, mind you). So instead of just talking about your company and it’s services, listen to what your client has to say. Listen to their problems and their needs so you can better serve them. By listening, it shows them that you really do care about them and it’ll have them trust you.
If they take time to meet you personally and to lay out their ideas, it means that they are really serious. When you show you care, it adds a sense of a personal touch to the situation. Remember! It is important to make sure they leave looking happy or satisfied with the discussion!
Establishing a good relationship with your client may lead to you gaining a loyal customer so talk less and listen more!
In the end, I think all of us know that listening is essential in many situations. From studying to delivering a service and many others. However, despite how easy it is to list out the facts or say we will commit to listening. It is a skill that takes time to be developed. Trying to become a better listener is a tough thing to do.
One of the first things I had to make myself do to become a better listener is to be aware. Be aware of whether you are talking more if you’re interrupting them or if you are constantly spacing out. Once you’ve become more self aware in this area, you can slowly improve. So I do hope this has encouraged you or provided you with some insights.
That said, we here at The Techy Hub commit to always listening to your needs and wants. You can check out our services here.