Listening may seem to come more natural to some people than it does to others, but the common denominator for all good listeners is their desire to listen. Desire trumps ability every time. In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, Steven Covey encourages us to seek first to understand others before we focus on being understood. It takes empathic listening to understand what someone else is trying to communicate. This requires paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication, asking good questions, and not thinking about your commission.
Covey also warns us to avoid fake listening. Fake listening looks like this:
- Ignoring – not really listening at all
- Pretending – humming along without really following
- Selective Hearing – hearing what you want to hear
Once, I was training a new agent and we sat with a gentleman who had recently lost his daughter in a car accident. It had only been a couple of months since she passed. I looked on the coffee table and there was a candle with her picture on it with her birthdate and the day she passed. He was very close with her and missed her dearly.
The new agent heard him talk about his daughter passing and moved right along with the presentation, glossing over what was most important to him. I stopped the presentation and acknowledged his loss and asked him some questions. It was the right thing to do, and it was important for him to be able to share with someone. This is empathetic listening. When we got back to the car I asked the new agent why he didn’t stop and listen to what was important to the client. He said he was nervous and he didn’t want to mess up the presentation. We have all been there. He was putting the presentation first. When you put the presentation first, you always put the client last.
What Are We Reading…
Excerpts from today’s Gamechanger email referred to The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People by Steven Covey. This has been one of the most influential books that I have read. It is one that we have read numerous times as a family. Here is an Amazon link for the book and a link for the teen one, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens – a fantastic resource for kids!