Listening = Growth, Success & Satisfaction

Listening is something we should all be working on. It is one of the most important things you can do in business.

Listening to you employees, customers, vendors and competitors (or anybody for that matter) makes you more effective.

When you are passionate about what you do it is very easy to get caught up in meetings and talk the whole time.

When you are really busy it is easy to not hear what your employees are telling you, through not only their words but also their actions and faces.

When you are focused on developing and delivering products or services for your customers it is way to easy not to take them time to listen to what they need.

What do you do to be an effective listener?

15 Responses to “Listening = Growth, Success & Satisfaction”

  1. Phelecia says:

    1. I take very detailed notes so when I have to refer back to them they
    are clear and understandable.
    2. I realize that I am not going to remember every single detail that
    was said but I try to take in as much as you can
    3. I am not embarrassed if I have to ask the person speaking to repeat
    themselves because they may be going too fast, talking too low, or if I
    just didn’t understand what they were talking about etc.
    4. I give the person speaking my full attention, smile and nod at times to
    help the person speaking know that I am listening and I try to make
    them feel as comfortable as possible
    5. If it’s something that takes my undivided attention I set the time aside
    to devote to listening to that person and at that time

  2. Dave says:

    I had a conversation recently with a friend who works at another company. They were so frustrated by the fact that they hadn’t been trained how to do a task, and couldn’t get anyone to help fix the problem. It was a great example of what happens when you don’t listen to your employees – you end up with people unable to do their jobs and feeling disgruntled about it. Keeping lines of communication open is key.

  3. Eric Watson says:

    I believe duct tape works the best in keeping one’s mouth shut. Aside from that, asking questions in your head while the person is talking will keep you engaged to what they are saying by creating a theoretical conversation.

  4. Jordan Snow says:

    You mentioned listening to your competitors as being a valuable skill to obtain. Not only can this help one to refine his or her own offerings, but it allows decisions to be made about when to be competitive and when to be cooperative.

    One example I like to use is when, in the early 20th century, Beyer-Dynamic and Neumann Microphones were starting up in Germany. Georg Neumann and Eugen Beyer were both enterprising engineers working on great microphone prototypes. The two main types of microphones are dynamic and condenser. The two companies could have chosen to be secretive and to develop their own products and go head-to-head with each other. However, a wise decision by Georg and Eugen to be open about their thoughts and to listen to what the markets were saying made a move to specialization seem more reasonable.

    Today Neumann is renowned for its high-quality condenser microphones and Beyer-Dynamic makes some of the greatest dynamic microphones available in the market. Over the years microphone companies who have wanted to be everything to everyone have come and gone, but in this specific industry the early players saw specialization and a symbiotic relationship as the smarter path. Their vision wouldn’t have been possible without listening.

  5. Kathleen says:

    In work meetings/conversations, I make sure to take notes that I can refer back to, but I carefully balance the note-taking with active listening to make sure I’m capturing the correct messages. I always ask for clarification if I’m the slightest bit confused or concerned about my interpretation of what’s being said. I’d rather ask multiple questions than leave a meeting on a completely different wavelength than everyone else.

    In both personal and work situations, I make it a point to tune out all distractions around me so I can actively listen, but it’s something I am constantly trying to improve.

    I attended a Bell Leadership Institute course on effective communication two years ago, and it was hands-down the best educational course I’ve sat through regarding personal/professional development in terms of communication skillls needed in the workplace.

  6. I ignore my phone, turn off my email and concentrate on the person talking, making sure to give my full attention.

    I always try to begin the conversation with non-rated topic to facilitate discussion & warm up the room before we start our meeting or call.

    Once we jump in, as they speak relate what they are saying in my mind to similar situations of my own, taking notes along the way. This helps me remember their stories long after the conversation. Once they are finished talking, ask questions to cover any gaps in my understanding of the topic.

    I always make sure to follow up conversations with a re-cap email so that if either party forgot anything during the meeting or call, the lines of communication are open. It also helps to give the other people involved a record of what we discussed for future use and reference.

  7. Hey Ed, listen up! You’re effort everyday to listen to employees and customers alike is an example of how things should be done, and done the right way! I try to exemplify this same methodology in my efforts with the people I work with and even the people I don’t and it goes so much farther than I could have ever expected. Especially the point of stopping to pay attention to what is NOT said. So much of our communication exists without the use of the spoken word, and by staying in tune with that, you have a much deeper insight into what is actually being said.

    Working at Total Attorneys has shown me how to not only be a better employee, but to be a better person at life. That is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Thank you!

  8. Billy says:

    Sure you can say to be a better listener you should do things like “be sure to look someone in the eye” or even something as obvious as “don’t answer your phone,” but I find that with good listening comes good thinking. I like to relate what I am hearing to my own experiences/thoughts, and I also like to think visually about what I am hearing. It’s ok to daydream a little bit when listening, as long as you remain focused; it’s ok because I feel that when you correlate something you are familiar with what you are hearing then it is easier to recall information later.

  9. Jessica Stephens says:

    To be an effective listener I pay attention not only to what someone is saying but how they are saying it voice inflection, facial expressions, and body language. This helps me to get a feel for how the person feels about what they are saying and how important it is to them so I can respond in the proper manner.
    I also make mental notes to remember important points of the conversation to reference later.

  10. I agree with Chelsey–disconnecting is the key to connecting. Cell phone, e-mail should be off and not a distraction. (Yes, we can all hear your “silent” buzzer.)

    I also make sure to not only take notes on key pointers on what the other person is saying, but I also scribble down my all the questions that pop into my head so I can push them aside and not let them distract me from really hearing the person.

    When they’re done talking, I can go back to my notes a ask those questions rather than having them float around my head while the conversation is going on.

  11. Pete says:

    Being a good listener has more to do with getting a person to speak than it does filtering thoughts through ears. The process begins with genuine interest being expressed by the listener, letting the speaker know that his/her thoughts are welcomed and sought after. To this end, the easiest way to be a good listener is to be good at asking the right questions and maintaining a generally friendly, encouraging disposition (encouraging body language, good eye contact, etc.)
    Those simple steps represent 90% of the skill known as “listening,” and none of them have any literal connection to capturing auditory sound. Most of the process is about getting people to contribute. Once ideas are being handed to you, the listener, all that need be done is focus on what is being said, and not get sidetracked with daydreams of Alexei Ramirez grand slams and the baristas at Intelligentsia, serving coffee. Ah, coffee.

  12. Jason says:

    Effective listening skills enables us to collaborate more effectively on a day-to-day basis. The ability to digest information from colleagues and break it down into actionable items, really makes the difference when it comes to executing on the information you’ve received.

    When people understand that you are going to listen, take action, and deliver results, they will be more inspired to work with you in the future.

    Knowing how to take information and champion it, really boosts the confidence of the group and encourages even more communication and sharing.

  13. Stuart Katz says:

    Lots of terrific comments about 1:1 conversations. I think alot about how businesses can listen more effectively to their target markets. Trade shows like ABA Tech are great opportunities to ask prospects questions about their needs. Advisory boards and surveys provide a platform to gather information from current customers. Another suggestion is to visit a certain number of customers each month. They’ll appreciate the attention, you’ll gain valuable feedback about your offerings.

    Feedback from all of these venues can be vetted and incorporated into your roadmaps. Many times, ideas surface for new offerings that will satisfy uncommunicated market needs too. Great companies, like Cicso and others you’ve mentioned in previous posts, have strong product marketing functions that can create a virtuous circle with their target audiences:

    1. Ask questions
    2. Listen to responses (using many suggestions from the other posts)
    3. Translate the information into product innovation
    4. Message benefits of new product features back to the target market to attract new customers.

  14. Mike Wetmore says:

    In my job, I do a lot of talking. But I make sure that I pay closer attention than my audience. Nothing resonates more with a client/customer/consumer than when you remember their name and maybe a small anecdote. The first thing I do is associate their name with a place, joke, or story they mentioned. People love to talk about themselves and if you let them, they make this technique easy. I got some good advice from someone once that told me “You know what you know. Let people tell you what they know”. Then, the next time you run into them at a bar off the beaten path in New Orleans and remember their name, they feel important and will always take your calls!

  15. Dan L. says:

    I realize that the point of this post isn’t to praise this particular author, but when it comes to listening, I think we can all learn a lot from Ed.

    As everyone knows who has walked into Ed’s office, he has an uncanny ability to drop the millions of things he may have on mind or be in the middle of, and then give you his undivided attention.

    It’s amazing really….

    As Ed mentions in this post, listening is SO important, but perhaps the most important thing about listening is the feeling you give the person who is talking.
    The feeling of being the only thing that matters at that moment. It’s a great feeling and something that all good listeners are able to provide to the speaker.

    It’s a feeling that immediately garners trust and friendship, two things that are paramount to building strong relationships.


Leave a Reply