When we listen, we sometimes let the ‘inner voice’ interfere with the conversation. We let our mind think about our response rather than respectively waiting for the person to finish. We may miss out on the important points of the conversation as a consequence.
This past weekend we attended a celebration of life in Vancouver for a friend who passed away recently. The adult children all recounted stories of life with their father. He was a highly competitive man who excelled in a variety of sports and shared that enthusiasm with his children. He took an interest in everyone he came across and was a natural as a salesperson. A born prankster, his humour could entertain for hours with a myriad of embellished stories.
Although we only crossed paths 2 – 3 times a year, we had know the individual for over 20 years. Through he and his family we thought we knew everything about him so it came as a complete surprise when we learned he was also a talented jazz musician! In all of our conversations had we tuned that tidbit out? How could we have not known? I suspect our ‘inner voice’ came into play at some point obliterating the opportunity to follow the musical path and, as a result, the conversation did not take place.
While ‘listening to hear’ is important and respectful no matter who you are with, it is crucial for business. Poor listening skills with customers and clients can be costly for your business. Mistakes in orders and services can result in unwanted expenses for the business, and in a worse-case scenario, the loss of a customer or client.
Most of us are not good listeners. We listen at about 25% of our potential, which means we ignore, forget, distort, or misunderstand 75% of what we hear. Hard to believe perhaps, but none the less, true. Such lazy listening habits can be very costly, both personally and to our business.
Do yourself a favour and silence the ‘inner voice’. Wait until the other person has finished before creating a response. You may be surprised a what you learn!
As always, feel free to share this post giving credit to the author.