percent of their day listening to others.                                                                            Moreo...
emotions?                                                  time and stay focused on you, without becoming                 ...
and increasing the number of satisfied customers                                 About the Authorcan make the difference b...
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Is Anybody Listening?


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Is Anybody Listening?

  1. 1. percent of their day listening to others. Moreover, during a sales interaction, it is recommended that a sales professional spend 80 percent of the time listening to the customer. Now, think about your own experiences with salespeople. How many do you know who actually do that? LISTENING The simple fact is that ineffective listening behaviors such as pre- judging the speaker, completing someone’s sentences, assuming that you understand what the speaker is saying, interrupting, poor eye contact, and ignoring nonverbal messages are costing even small companies tens of thousands of dollars in lost profits. Poor listening not only results in lower productivity and unplanned waste, but also has an immense negative Is Anybody Listening? emotional impact on your people. At a By Jerry Scher, Principal, Peak Focus LLC time when it is so difficult to find and keep productive employees, can weHave you ever been frustrated because an employee didn’t follow really afford to ignore the impact ofdirections? Have you ever had to redo a job or an order, at your the daily communication problems thatexpense, because a customer service representative or sales exist in all our companies? As statedperson misinterpreted your customer’s requirements? Have you earlier, managers spend 45 percentever had to referee a conflict between competing departments? If of their time listening. And, researchyou’ve ever encountered these or similar situations, then you have indicates that typical managers listendealt with the repercussions of ineffective communication. Have effectively only 25 percent of the ever stopped to calculate the precious hours or dollars that They confuse listening and hearing.are wasted when people fail to communicate properly? The figures Listening should be active, not passive,might overwhelm you! involving a more sophisticated mental process. You must learn to listen withThe ability to communicate always tops the list of critical skills your eyes, ears, and heart.required to succeed. Every aspect of building a business or a teamis reliant upon employees throughout your organization being able People have a desperate need toto communicate effectively with internal and external customers. be listened to. They want to be acknowledged by their peers andThroughout our educational experiences, we are taught to managers. In fact, you will earn thespeak, read, and write. Unfortunately, very few people receive respect of your employees simply byany formal training in the art of listening – the most critical of all taking the time to actively listen tocommunication skills. them. How many times have you met with unhappy employees and quicklyResearch indicates that during a manager’s typical day s/he spends offered advice when all they reallymore than 45 percent of the time listening. In fact, surveys have wanted was the opportunity to workindicated that the most successful executives spend 50 to 60 through a problem and vent their
  2. 2. emotions? time and stay focused on you, without becoming distracted.The fact of the matter is…if you want to beinteresting, be interested. If you focus on listening TYPE OF LISTENERSrather than on speaking, you will become highlyregarded. Most people love to talk about themselves. Let’s take a look at three different types of listeners.Therefore, if you are a good listener, you will be Most of us listen at all three of these levels atsought out. If you want to be received as a resource, different times. The type of listening behavior wedemonstrate that you care by exercising positive exhibit is usually dependent upon how we feel and tolistening behavior. This trait can be particularly whom we are listening.effective in sales situations. If you are not sure aboutthe effectiveness of this, think about how it felt the Active/Empathetic Listener Active, empatheticlast time someone really listened to you. Now think listeners pay close attention to verbal and nonverbalabout the last time someone wouldn’t listen to you, messages and remember what they hear. They makeor only listened half-heartedly. good eye contact and provide positive emotional feedback after listening – working at advancingCOMMUNICATION ATTITUDE relationships with people. They paraphrase and ask clarifying questions in an effort to accomplish two-Most of us find it difficult to listen to someone way communication. (85-100 score on assessment)completely. In fact, it is not uncommon tofinish another person’s statement, either verbally Part-Time Listener Part-time listeners very oftenor mentally. Stop and think about how it feels when hear, but don’t listen. They don’t dig for the innersomeone does this to you. One of the reasons for this meaning of what is being said. They only partiallybehavior is that we speak at 200 words per minute, concentrate on the speaker and become easilybut can listen at about 500 words per minute. And, distracted. They give the appearance of listening –when you get bored, your mind races or wanders. listening logically, but not emotionally. (60-84 on assessment)In order to correct this communication deficiency,we must carefully concentrate on what the speaker Indifferent Listener Indifferent listeners are passiveis saying, and try to understand the underlying listeners. They believe that hearing and listeningmeaning. Ask clarifying questions or paraphrase are the same. They have the tendency to pre-to ensure your understanding of what is really judge people and don’t try to understand the otherbeing said. This process starts with a positive person’s point of view. They would prefer to do mostcommunication attitude. In other words, you have to of if the talking and typically spend the rest of theircare about the other person and what they are trying time formulating their rebuttal rather that listeningto communicate. When you care, people know it. to what is being said. (0-59 on assessment)POSITIVE LISTENING BEHAVIOR If you’re uncertain into which category you fall, take the Listening Skills Quick Self Assessment. In lessMany of us know what it takes to be a good listener; than five minutes, you’ll have your answer, and evenwe just don’t implement what’s required. Think insights into becoming a better listener. Certainly fiveabout the behavior of those you know who listen minutes exceptionally well spent!well. Most likely they care about you and concentrateon what you are saying. They make eye contact and COST JUSTIFICATIONdon’t pre-judge you; they are willing to accept yourpoint of view even if they don’t agree with it. As business people, we have to be able to justify the time and money we invest in training ourWhen they don’t understand what you’ve said, they people. Fortunately, effective communicationsask questions and even paraphrase your statement, training is not costly, and your return on investmentgiving you the opportunity to better articulate your will likely be significant. The savings generated bymessage. Finally, they are willing to give you their reducing mistakes, improving employee teamwork,
  3. 3. and increasing the number of satisfied customers About the Authorcan make the difference between successful and Jerry Scher - Founder and Principal at Peak Focus, LLCunsuccessful business. Jerry is well known as a business builder,An improvement in employee communications skills c-level executive, conference speaker,is a cost-effective, secret weapon that can help you trainer, facilitator, coach, entrepreneur,gain a competitive advantage. and mentor. Regardless of the title, the end result is the same–Jerry makes the people around him significantly more successful through his ability to simplify the complex, ask the right questions, and develop appropriate solutions to keep 11 Keys to Improve Your Listening Behavior businesses and individuals moving forward. 1. Give the speaker your full attention. 2. Maintain eye contact. About Peak Focus, LLC 3. Be aware of your own body language. People. Performance. Profitability. 4. Pay attention to nonverbal as well as verbal messages. Peak Focus gives you the tools to grow, develop and 5. Focus on understanding the message. strengthen your team. With a mix of resources that we’ve 6. Don’t be judgmental; respect the other person’s created ourselves, as well as several powerful tools we’ve point of view. carefully assessed and believe in, we combine our passion and experience to guide companies and individuals toward 7. Don’t interrupt or finish the other person’s optimized performance. Select your team members with sentences. confidence, help your key players develop their soft skills, 8. Be empathetic; try to understand the speaker’s and learn how to coach your entire team more effectively feelings. by engaging the experts at Peak Focus. 9. Ask clarifying questions to ensure you understand the message. For more information and access to free resources, please 10. Take notes when appropriate. visit our website at 11. Paraphrase to confirm your understanding. Engage With Us Free tools, resources & updates LIKE us on Facebook Check out our blog Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Peak Focus LLC © 2009 • All rights reserved.Unauthorized duplication in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.