A few weeks ago I wrote that listening is the most important networking skill.
In this week’s post I would like to address the most important part of listening: the intention that’s behind your listening.
Effective listening begins with a genuine desire to listen to other people. This also means forgetting about yourself for a minute. Often, without intending to be rude, your enthusiasm for a subject and your own desire to hear yourself talk cause you to forget courtesy. Or you may be so involved with your own point of view that you forget to listen to what is being said. You just stop listening!
Here is the first batch of tips that might help you:
• Be eager to learn: always try to learn something from the conversation.
• Be patient. Give the other person enough time to tell his story to you. If you don’t have this amount of time, communicate this and make another appointment.
• Listen with the intention to gather information, make a connection and create rapport (building mutual trust and affinity).
• Look for things you have in common to get on the same wavelength.
• Be helpful. Listen for information that signals that there is something you can help the other person with. To build a relationship it is especially recommended to listen for ways you can help someone else without a direct benefit for yourself. Of course, if you feel you have the perfect solution, you can talk about this.
• Be empathic. Try to look at the situation from the other person’s point of view. This is not easy, because all things that happened in our lives, contributed to the way we look at the world. It is very normal to perceive the world from your own standpoint. But if you are capable of abandoning your own point of view for a moment and try to understand the other person, you’ll get respect and people will remember you.
• Change your hierarchy of looking at situations:
1. from the point of view from the person you are listening to
2. from the point of view of your network (how can you match the person you are listening to with your network so they can both benefit)
3. from your own point of view
In many cases we only listen from our own point of view. You’ll stand out of the crowd by not doing this and you’ll also have better relationships.
To your success !