Listening Skills

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Decades ago, when a friend of mine and I were both young and ill-educated about the ways of the world, he said, "Betty, this is why guys and girls are so different. When guys have a problem, they want to hear solutions. When girls have a problem, all they want to do is have you listen to them on and on and they don 't want to hear solutions." He was both right and wrong. Wrong in his overall gender assumptions, but right in one very critical way: Most people just want you to listen to them. As the years went on, I learned just how important this skill is in life. It became immensely important in my job in television. Being a great interviewer is not just about asking the brilliant question but also being able to shut up and listen to the…show more content…
It will make you a better leader, a better conversationalist, a better spouse, a better sales executive, and it will instantly make you more likable and the most popular person at a party. Jim Reynolds, the CEO of Loop Capital, a boutique bank based in Chicago, really drove this point home to me years ago. When Reynolds first started out in the sales training program at IBM, one of the biggest things he learned was to make sure you listen to your customer. "Most people will tell you what they want," Reynolds says. "All you have to do is pay attention and listen to it. Then, you give them exactly what they asked for. The guys who made the big sales were never the ones who walked in with flashy suits and big mouths--it was always the ones who shut up and listened who made the big…show more content…
Mirror people 's words. It sounds counterintuitive, because repeating other people 's words back to them makes it seem as if you 're not paying attention to them. But I can 't tell you how many times I 've seen people 's eyes light up when you repeat their words back to them, as in: "This app is going to revolutionize the way people order local chickens from the farm," to which you would say, "This is going to revolutionize the way people order local chickens from the farm? How?" to which the person would reply, "Yes! So glad you asked...." You 've made an instant friend. 2. Ask questions. How many conversations have you been in where someone says something completely nonsensical and you just let it pass because it 's actually more work to make them explain their point than to let him or her talk on. Next time, make a point to stop the conversation and ask about the point of confusion. It will not only create a more dynamic connection, it will also signal to the person that you 're actually listening. Chances are, when you 're stuck with someone who 's talking endlessly, even he or she knows you 're not completely paying
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