Are you TRULY listening?
By: Lindsey Richardson, Director of Marketing, Fitness Quest 10
I have been contemplating the art of truly listening lately. I used to consider myself a “good listener,” if I had a profile it would say “I love to listen.” But, here is the catch, I also love to talk. As technology has become more readily available and I have succumbed to the iPad and iPhone and not to mention cable TV at home, I realize that as business owners and entrepreneurs we listen less and less. I often hear from business owners that they don’t understand why their product isn’t selling, or why they lose clients, and I respond with “Are you asking your clients what they want to see? What they want to change?” Often times the answer is “yes,” but what I challenge you to think about today and every day is, when you ask those questions, are you truly listening to the answers? Are you truly hearing what they are saying?
I remember working for my old company, they were very focused on “development exercises.” We did a listening exercise at a conference one day. We had 4 different types of listeners described on a piece of paper. We sat with our managers and had to point blank tell them what type of listener that we felt that they were. Imagine the terror in my eyes thinking, how am I going to tell my manager that she is the type of listener that is already shooting down my ideas before I even get one word out of my mouth? You know the one that is fearful of new, and is so excited to tell you that your idea would never work because we already tried it years ago?
In relationships and business there are many types of listeners. There is the one I described above, there is the one that is so busy that they hear every other sentence because their mind is on 10 other things they have to do next, there is the one that is listening, but mostly thinking about what they are going to say next while you are talking. Imagine what we have been missing by not truly listening? All of us can admit that we are guilty of one of these listening styles at one point in our relationships and careers. We say were are there to listen, but are we truly “present?”
All of these stories hit me particularly hard as I trained a new crop of Fitness Quest 10 interns a few months back. We had the most talented, intelligent and hungry interns I had ever seen. I used to spend so long trying to search through my emails for older emails due to our web-based system, turns out, all I needed to do was hit command F, do you know how much time that saved me? Guess who taught me? One of our amazing interns! And these were the people that were supposed to learn from us, the learning goes both ways all the time if you are willing to take your pride, SHOVE it aside and LISTEN.
So I encourage everyone to listen. Sounds simple huh? If you want to know why particular areas of your business/marketing are working, ask the hard questions, ask the people who are going to take part in making you successful. BUT, if you are going to take the time to ask the questions, take the time to listen and make sure you HEAR what they say. I challenge you to start with one person, whether it be your significant other, your best friend, your colleague or those that report to you. Look them in the eye when they are talking to you, shut off the inner voices in your head (we all know that we have them) and take the time to listen, truly hear every word that comes out of their mouth. Turn off your cell phone, walk away from your email (I hate to break it to you, but the world isn’t going to end if you walk away from it) and LISTEN. And guess what? You may get the one BIG answer that is going to help you achieve your marketing and business goals.
For Questions, Comments or topics you would like to hear about, send me an email: email@example.com