I’m a talker, I come from a family of talkers, in fact when my husband first met me he used to rock back and forth after and hour with me, my mother and sister in a room. We’d all talk, all at the same time, no one listening to what the other was saying. We still do it, we have a lot to say!
However, over the years I have had to teach myself the art of listening. It is a hard skill to get right. That might sound silly, but when you have a mind like mine, that is always whirring with things to say, listening can be difficult.
I have a friend, a phenomenal lady who has just turned 80, she is a great listener, she takes in everything that people say to her and because of this, she also remembers so many things about people. I struggle to remember people’s names!
She is extremely thoughtful. When she sees them again she’ll ask after their aged auntie or poorly dog, because she’s listened. She’ll also offer them advice, because she’s listened, about a problem they may be facing.
Sometimes before I meeting I’ll give myself a talking to and remind myself to listen, rather than just put in what I want to say. It does make a real difference. By listening you can get a real insight into a person, an organisation, or an issue.
With clients it is so important to listen, to understand where they are coming from, to really understand a brief and to get as much information as possible to help inform a suitable strategy.
It is also important to talk (I’m good at that!), and ask questions and delve, but the listening needs to come first.
It was a friends birthday this week and in the past I’ve got her a nice bottle of fizz or chocolates, this year I’d listened to a story she was telling where she mentioned a particular brand of lotion that she liked. I logged the information, stored it away, and when the time came popped and bought her a bottle of it. On her birthday I could see how thrilled she was, it was because she knew I’d listened to her.
I’m not there yet when it comes to listening but lord knows I’m trying!