Are You Really Listening?

Every day we have a variety of conversations. Whether it’s simple small talk or an in-depth conversation, we all take turns listening, and then speaking. But how many of us are really actually listening? Not just waiting for our turn to speak, but really listening. Real listening is a skill that is highly underrated. As an Account Executive, effective listening provides me the chance to obtain a deeper insight into the thoughts, views, and feelings of my clients, both internal and external.

When we’re speaking we say a lot more than just the words coming out of our mouth. Additional factors put what we are saying into a context that frames the message received by those listening in a much more specific way then the words alone could provide. The next time you are having a conversation with a client, pay attention to these five additional things:

  1. Emotional noises such as tone or pitch
  2. Silences or pauses
  3. Eye contact
  4. Body language
  5. Other people’s reactions to what the speaker is saying

When you “hear” these underlying issues ask questions and dig deeper to learn more about the possible underlying factors. Paying attention to these unspoken details while listening to what your client is saying provides insight into the underlying emotions and thoughts that they aren’t saying, helping you better understand them and their actions. When you attend to these details you show you are listening and can empathize, making your client think “wow, they really understand exactly what is going on”.

Effective listening is essential to obtain a deeper understanding of your clients and their business. Once achieved, you will see that you not only will work better with them, but you will work better for them by providing solutions and making recommendations that truly fit their needs.