The Magic of Listening

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Listening skills are essential to leadership that’s responsive, attentive and empathetic.  Everyone deserves to be heard and understood. There is a huge difference in hearing someone speak and really listening to that person.  There are many reasons people don’t listen, but it is a skill you want to develop if you have a business.  When having a conversation, everyone likes the feeling of having the other person’s undivided attention.  

From time to time, everyone we deal with is a customer.  Certainly, people who come to us for services are our customers, but the people we work with are equally important.  Effective communication is important when dealing with everyone.  It creates a positive environment, keeps employees happy with their jobs, and makes every business a place where customers enjoy shopping.  

Strong communication must include listening as well as speaking.  Active listening means becoming involved in the communication even though you are the receiver.  In active listening, you give all of your attention to the speaker, concentrating on the ideas, and resist the temptation to let your mind race ahead.  Never be thinking about what you will say when the speaker finishes, missing the message the speaker is trying to send to you.  This will help you keep from judging before you hear all of the facts.  Everybody appreciates people who care enough about them to really listen to what they have to say.

As a business owner, you control the environment of your business, which is critical to the success of your business.  Positive communication is just as important with employees as it is with customers; and warm, sincere positive strokes enhance the work environment.  A combination of speaking, listening, and performance are types of positive communication to be used with employees.  In this type of environment, employees believe they are important to the business.

As mentioned earlier, giving your full attention to someone speaking to you is effective listening.  One way to show your interest is to repeat back to the person speaking your understanding of the problem.  Ask questions and listen carefully to the answers.  Be careful to keep an open mind and not appear indifferent, negative, aggressive, or threatening.  Your body language is important.  Making eye contact with the person speaking keeps you focused and shuts out everything around you.  When you break that contact to look at someone else or something that caught your attention, you are signaling to the person speaking that you care more about the other person or thing than what he/she is saying.  It is also important to pay attention to the speaker’s tone of voice, facial expressions and body language.  This will give you information that will be as important as the words spoken.  

Listening when someone calls is also very important.  If you think about telephone conversations you have had, I’m sure you’ll agree that you can tell if someone on the other end of the line is actually listening.  Always try to answer on the first or second ring.  Smile and sit up straight when answering and concentrate only on the conversation.  Let your tone show caring and respect.  If you are really busy, it is sometimes tempting to work on something while the other person is talking; but that person can tell if you are not giving your undivided attention.  It is also important to listen without interrupting and let the caller hang up first.

Remember, when you truly listen to others, you may not only help them but may actually learn something from them.  Listening is a skill we all need to work on and develop.   

  • Author: Pat Jones
  • Title: Business Broker - Owner
  • Company: Pat Jones Business Brokerage
  • Company Website:
  • Date: August 11, 2016
  • Category: Buying a Franchise or Business
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