Julian’s Business Tips: Did You Hear What I Said?

Julian’s Business Tips: Did You Hear What I Said?

As August’s article pointed out, listening is a really important skill.

We use listening to do lots of key tasks: to understand things, to gain information, to learn, for enjoyment, and plenty more.

But you need to distinguish between hearing things, and listening to them.

Research suggests you only remember 25-50% of what you hear – and by the same token, other people only remember 25-50% of what you tell them!

One way to improve your listening performance is by making a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, the complete message being communicated.

But what about when it’s YOU that is talking, you need to know your customers, suppliers and colleagues are listening and that your important words are being heard and remembered.

You may find it helpful to re-emphasise the important points. But that doesn’t mean that you should say the same thing over and over again – that is a sure way to numb your listener!

Instead, try saying it once (including an example for context), and then paraphrasing it once, before pausing to allow the facts to sink in.

It’s lovely when the listener responds with, ‘So if I understand you, you’re saying…’ But as that rarely happens, it’s important for you then to gauge their understanding.

And that doesn’t mean asking yes/no questions like, ‘Does that make sense?’, or ‘Do you understand?’, because people generally say ‘Yes’ to those questions, even when the real answer is no!

Instead, use open questions, e.g. those beginning with Who? What? Where? When? Why? to check – let them show you they were paying attention!

What do you think? What’s that? You weren’t listening…?!?