Listening is one of the most important skills we have. In business, it’s a critical part of the startup process.
Today, it’s not as easy to speak to someone with all the technology in our lives. With all the beeps of phones, appliances, and vehicles, people tend to catch only 25-50% of everything that they hear.
Enter the entrepreneur. Wanting to start a business sounds exciting and adventurous, but a well-equipped entrepreneur needs one critical skill. It will be instrumental in their success…or failure. That skill is listening.
To understand what their employees want, what customers need, and the demands of their investors, one must have active listening skills.
What does active listening look like?
Active listening is not just about hearing what you hear, but it is what is between the words, so to speak.
When collecting information for your business, look at trends and patterns that make these enterprises successful…not just the surface-level ideas that are easily seen.
Being an active listener is usually accompanied by nodding, smiling, making eye contact, and other such affirmations. It means to get rid of all distractions when you have these conversations. Be sure that your computer doesn’t have anything running and that your phone is off.
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Another good way of understanding your employee is by paraphrasing and summarizing what they say. That way, you put it in your own words that you understand. This helps the employee by jogging their memory for anything else they need to make you aware of.
Social media is your friend.
Listening doesn’t just end in person. It also is an important part of social media, even if you are not “listening” to your audience, they are still able to reach out to you.
Startups these days also need a social media presence. Social media allows customers to go straight to the business with questions, comments, and concerns. It’s the ultimate marketing tool as anyone, anywhere on the planet can interact with your business. So it’s important to have these channels operational to speak with all of these different people.
With the heavy flow of information given to all sorts of people, it’s the listening comprehension of wants and needs that will help a business be successful. It also shows customers that they are being heard and listened to.
Having an easy-to-run social media presence that gets back quickly will show customers that you do listen to them. Plus, as social media is mainly in written form, it helps to comprehend what they say and it helps provide context to the wants and needs of the business you own.
Listening runs both ways.
Active listening is also good for the inner workings of the business itself. We can’t fix problems if no one says anything.
That’s why having active listening skills is essential to both employees and the boss. A boss can hear the feedback from their workers to hear changes that will benefit the workforce. Meanwhile, the boss can inform the workforce of any news about the company, give performance reviews, and regulate the tasks of the day.
An effective manager needs to be non-judgmental and patient with their workers as they listen. Ignoring workers, cutting them off, and other rude gestures will make employees less helpful. They may even leave your business.
Ask open-ended questions. This shows that you are listening and that way, you don’t get short “Yes” or “No” answers. This tactic provides a deeper insight into the conversation and builds off what has already been discussed.
Listening means delivering.
The more you listen, the more you can connect with everyone.
Audiences will be given the content they desire when businesses hear them out. It helps with the marketing of your company as well. Listening allows the marketing team to know exactly what the customers want. They can then provide an effective tease to get them to visit your business.
Active listening also helps you best the competition. Listen to what customers say about other businesses. Learn from it! Apply it to your own business so that you can continue being a titan in your industry.
Listening seems like an easy thing to do as you hear things constantly. However, active listening shows that you are a caring individual that wants to hear everyone out. Keeping up with it creates a healthy and active workforce that will lead to success.