I don’t know about you, but I like to talk. I don’t know if it’s being a speaker, I doubt that, but I can talk about everything and nothing for hours. I think I’m funny, but I’m not sure if that’s the way to build rapport. What feels worse than trying to talk with someone while they’re texting or playing an online game?
As a child, I stopped being friendly at about 4. At which point my mother told me what I would have to do if I was going to make friends. My dad was very funny, and everyone liked him; I guess that’s how I thought it could be. I didn’t realize it then, but there was more to it. My dad was very empathetic too.
Just because we listen doesn’t really mean we heard anything. These day’s people act like they’re listening, but we know everyone is multitasking. It’s doubtful they heard what you said.
How can you listen?
- Don’t distract yourself. Put your phone and the rest of the devices away. This is not the time to check your email or Facebook message. Listening and connecting is an art. Being a good listener is a way for you to really connect with customers and your friends.
- Don’t top the speaker’s story. Isn’t it awful when you’re telling someone what happened and without taking a breath, they “up you one better?” If you went to the doctor, they’ve been to two. If you’re going on vacation to New Orleans, they’ll tell you they once lived there and what’s wrong with the place. This is what we call the “me too” habit. Whatever you’ve done; I’ve done it as well and probably better.
- Try not to interrupt. I say “try” because when I’m on the telephone I can’t seem to judge when to pause. I’m not sure if I can’t hear, or it’s the connection.
- Stop trying to find problems to fix. Are you listening only enough to find a problem to fix?
Don’t be afraid to give your listening skills an overhaul. Like anything else, it takes practice and more practice.
Without customer service, a customer doesn’t have any customers, good sales don’t necessarily bring back customers, but good customer service does.”
Lisbeth has been teaching businesses how to improve their customer service and the customer experience for over 20 years. To schedule a consultation or have her speak at your business, reach her at [email protected] If she’s not in her office, she can often be found mornings at the YMCA in East Greenbush.