Listening is THE most important communication skill. It is essential in a marriage, as a parent and in the business world! Most people are too busy thinking about what they are going to say next to pay much attention to what the other person is saying. However, merely listening to the words that someone says will only give you about 7% of the meaning!
Good conversationalists, great communicators and smart business owners are “Active Listeners”. What’s an active listener? You have heard that old expression: God gave you two ears and one mouth! An active listener is someone who listens twice as much as he talks. Someone who listens to what was not said. Someone who listens to how it was said. An active listener is someone who pays attention to the other person’s tone of voice, body language, eye contact and facial expressions. From this we may determine the degree to which Mary doesn’t like people who interrupt her, the fact that John is being sarcastic or that Sally never talks about her mother. These may be significant bits of information that you will need to know when trying to relate to people!
Here is why active listening is so crucial:
If your daughter is not excited about your idea for summer vacation, you can stop trying to sell her on it and, instead, talk to her about why she isn’t excited about it. You may find that it is a simple misunderstanding. Once dealt with, you may go on to have a wonderful family vacation. If allowed to fester, her resentment can put a serious damper on your fun!
If your prospective customer says that she is very thrifty, you might want to bring her attention to the fact that your products will save her money in the long run, instead of continuing to talk about the fact that they are of less harmful to the environment. Both are true, but only one is really important to your customer.
Active listeners pay attention to the details and can, therefore, better understand and relate to the person with whom they are communicating. The more you know your audience, the better you will be able to tailor your message to that audience whether you are persuading someone of the value of your business or persuading your daughter that she shouldn’t go out with THAT BOY!
JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication and is the author of the Say What You Mean series of studies on effective communication skills. If you want more information on effective communication skills, please visit her website, Art of Eloquence at http://www.artofeloquence.com