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The power of listening

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Research tells us that as a society, we aren’t such great listeners. Too often, we’re so focused on what we’re going to say next that we don’t take the time to really hear what others have to tell us. In the business world, though, being a good listener can have a variety of benefits, such as helping you hone in on important issues and find solutions to problems.

Start a dialogue by asking your employees regularly, ‘What do you think?” It’s a great way to start a conversation! Without realizing it, your sincere engagement and honest listening could pay off in a solid, productive exchange. A second way to become a better listener is to get to know your employees. How well do you really know the people who work for you? Do you know the saying that everyone has a story? It’s true! One of the most important things you can do with your employees is to take the time to get to know them and their unique life stories. People who feel their managers know, understand and listen to them often will work harder and exhibit greater loyalty not only to their teams but their companies as well.

Being a good listener also can help you build a successful business. How well do you listen to your customers or clients? Learning to truly listen to their needs, wants and opinions can help you provide the very best products/services and customer experience.

Your mastery of the lost art of listening also can make others eager to hear what you have to say. Respect begets respect. If you give people the chance to speak and truly be heard, they more likely will give you the same opportunity. One of the great things about learning how to listen is that people are more likely to listen to you.

Don’t think your listening skills need any improvement? Try keeping track of how much time you spend asking questions and listening during the next several meetings with employees and how much time you spend talking. The goal: To spend as much time — or more time — listening as you do talking.

Good listening skills are important at all levels of an organization and especially important with those working directly with customers/clients. Simply put, listening is the cornerstone of great customer service. Is your company providing the customer service that your customers or clients deserve? It all starts with a customer service team that knows how to truly listen.

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