Are You Listening?

There was a saying I learned many years ago about the sales process that said “selling ain’t telling, it’s asking questions”. I think we can all agree that we don’t want to be told about a product or service, but respond well when someone spends the time to really understand what we want and why it is important to us. The key here is good listening skills. Do you understand the difference talking, telling and communicating? Effective, Successful, result-oriented, persuasive communication is far different from the day to day version – it takes Knowledge, thought, planning and execution.

  • How would you describe communication?
  • We watch TV for hours –does TV communicate?
  • When people argue – are they communicating?
  • In any discussion – who determines what is being communicated?

True communication is not what the sender intends to communicate; it is what the receiver understands. Whatever the other person thinks he heard and what he thinks you meant, that is what is communicated. What YOU intended has little relevancy to the real world of communication.

“All business communication aims to achieve a result. When successful, it moves its audience to do something – to buy a product, change a behavior, support a plan or adopt a point of view”, wrote Michael Hattersley, a professor at the Harvard Business School.

We all want our communications to produce results, even if it is just to be “heard”. In a slower economy, the quality of our internal and external communication needs to be at an all time high. Where can you strengthen your communication skills? With customers/clients it can mean more consistent, loyal business interactions. Harvard Business School research found that a 5% increase in customer loyalty can lead to 40%-90% increases in the lifetime value of customer relationships. With employees it can mean higher productivity and a true by-in to the companies’ vision and mission