Monday, February 20, 2012

Please Stop Talking!

Awhile back I took a class called "Please Stop Talking! - Powerful Skills to Really Hear Your Customers". I thought as a good reminder to myself, I would share some of what I learned with you.

Passive Listening vs Active Listening
Passive is only hearing what a person has to say, but not reacting. Active is listening in a way that focuses entirely on the person, understanding their content, message and the emotions underlying the message. (I am HORRIBLE about this! Dwain will say "you're not listening, what'd I just say?" and I can totally repeat it back to him but i hadn't understood what he said.)

"A good listener is a silent flatterer."

Top 10 Active Listening Tips
1. Prepare to listen - Turn off or put away distractions (phones, tv, children, etc.) I now tell Dwain "wait a minute and let me prepare to hear you." Train your mind to block out all distractions, maintain eye contact and give the person your total attention.
2. Don't interrupt - This is rude and shows you're not really listening.
3. Allow space after they finish a thought - Don't just jump in as soon as they take a breath.
4. Nod your head and encourage conversation - ask questions too
5. Repeat back silently in your mind - This will help you concentrate on what they are saying vs what you are thinking you want to say next.
6. Take notes - jot notes of keywords, phrases that might remind you of something they said you want to ask about later.
7. Verify and check the information - "So what you're saying to me is that you..."
8. Paraphrase and summarize back to them - Reflect back what you heard using your own words with their keyphrases.
9. Use understanding responses rather than evaluative responses. 
10. Pay attention to their body language - are they avoiding eye contact? They're distracted or uncomfortable. Drumming fingers - impatient. Glassy-eyed - bored. Blank face - not connecting. Arms folded - skeptical, distrust (unless they're cold like I always am). Leaning forward - interested. If you see some of these you can always ASK A QUESTION, this will get everyone re-focused.

thank you to Barbara Sanfilippo for this wonderful information!

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