Ernest Hemingway once said, “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”
Talk may get you far in business, but there’s a treasure trove of information you could learn from clients or the people around you if you just listen. Lindsay Lavine of the Fast Company has highlighted some great tips from experts to turn silence into your greatest asset for your business and personal life.
Know who you’re talking to: Some people may not listen the way you would, so understand your clients’ preferences. Marian Thier, Co-Founder of Listening Impact LLC, suggests you ask yourself about why are you speaking with this person, what you stand to learn from them, and what points can you make that will bring value?
You should have questions prepared to add to your own knowledge about them, which will add value to the conversation.
Get comfortable with uncomfortable silences: Eric Chen, a business professor at the University of St. Joseph, believes, “Our society rewards people that talk a lot. We’ve forgotten how to listen.” But silence can be a more powerful tool.
Use long pauses to your advantage and train yourself not to jump-in to fill them. People don’t like uncomfortable silences (that’s why they’re called uncomfortable silences), so oftentimes they’ll blurt something out. In these moments of unfiltered talking, a person could reveal or divulge some very powerful information—something they shouldn’t have told you.
If you’re constantly thinking about the next question or the next thing to say, you could easily miss out on a golden nugget you were waiting for.
Watch and listen: Body language can speak louder than words. Do they look closed off or are they open when they talk? Watch how they act while they speak and you can get a better sense of what’s being said. Listen and watch what they’re saying to you, so you can really hear them out. You may get a better understanding as to where this person is coming from on a personal level, which will better allow you to frame your answers.
See their words: Reading and listening helps you to retain and focus on what’s being said. Visualizing as well as hearing their words is a trick that Amy Ogden, Vice President of Brand Development for J Public Relations, uses. It’s tempting to start planning your response before the speaker has finished. This method allows you to remain in the now with the speaker and frame your question after they’re finished, and if there’s a little silence, refer back to the second tip.
Read more at Fast Company
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