One Trait to Make Good Communication Possible

Professional Speaker-Professional Development-Positive Attitude

“ I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant” ― Alan Greenspan

Take a minute to read that quote again and let it sink in. It’s so true – good communication can be quite challenging and often elusive. So how can we get our point across? How can we strengthen our relationships and build trust with those we love?

The way I see it, the most important and impactful thing we can do is:

                       Listen without judgement

Easier said than done, huh? Think about it, though. Communication is a two-way street. If one person is talking, someone else has to be listening. Most of the time we may look like we are listening. We lean in and nod our heads, but in reality, we are thinking about what we want to say next. We can’t wait for the other person to shut up so we can make our point.

So, the next time you truly want to have an effective conversation, LISTEN. Once you can do that, it actually becomes a conversation. One where each person shares their views and opinions without apprehension. A conversation where you can state your message clearly without fear of being judged. It is soooo hard. One trick I use is to lightly bite my tongue to stop myself from interrupting. Notice that I said “lightly.” You don’t want to draw blood! But this little tactic helps me focus on the listening.

Honestly, listening without judgement will truly make a difference in your relationships both at home and at work. And who knows, you may even learn something in the process.

 

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
Tags: , , ,

Tips for Being a Super Duper Listener

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Picture this…  You’re having a nice conversation with your friend or spouse or coworker.  You’re really listening closely.  You’ve got the eye contact going, you’re nodding your head and you’re even sitting on the edge of your chair.  Then suddenly  you realize that your mind has drifted and you think: OMG – I have no idea what you are saying!  PLEASE don’t ask me a question because I have no clue what you are talking about!!!

Well, I guarantee that you are not alone.  As important as listening is, we have never had any formal training.  Think about it, in school we are taught reading and speaking and writing – all important forms of communication – but we are never taught how to listen. 

So today I’d like to share with you some tips that helped me improve my listening skills.  Some are common sense and you’re probably already using them, but I bet you’ll find at least one or two that are new to you.  One or two that can help you be the best listener possible.

Here goes:

  • Eye contact
  • Lean in
  • Ask open ended questions
  • Visualize what the speaker is saying
  • Try to feel what the speaker is feeling
  • No distractions – like your phone
  • Practice patience
  • Find your reason for listening

Think of listening like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it gets.  Try some of the suggestions above and let me know which ones work best for you.  I’d love to hear from you.

 

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
Tags: ,

I’m All Ears

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I want to be a better listener!

After getting off the phone with my friend, and listening to all her trials and tribulations, the conversation was suddenly over.  I never had a chance to say one word.  Nothing about myself.  It may sound selfish, but I wanted to be part of the conversation.  When we hung up, I felt empty, alone and like I didn’t matter.

That made me wonder – have I done this to others?  That thought scared me so I decided to make a pledge to myself, right here and right now, to be a better listener.

To get started, I’m going to play this little game with myself.  The next time I’m in a conversation, instead of thinking about what to say next, I’m going to look at the conversation as a learning experience.  A time to discover something new.   Maybe there’s a new restaurant in town I haven’t heard about, or a business contact I can be introduced to.  Who knows?  I may even make a new friend.

I pledge to listen with curiosity and stay focused.  Yes, that’s exactly what I’m going to do starting right now.  I believe it will take some practice, but I’m willing to try.  So if we should meet in the near future, and have a conversation, let me know how I’m doing.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Positive Mindset Professional Development Professional Speaker
Tags: , , , ,

Cultivate Your Clients with Outstanding Customer Service

Professional Speaker-Professional Development-Positive Attitude

Customer Service can make or break your business.  If it’s poor, you WILL lose customers. Salesforce advocates that if the customer service you provide is void of one vital element— trust— then the dwindle in the number of customers you serve would be highly conspicuous, and you’d know how much you’re losing. It it’s exceptional, your business will flourish.  Today I’m sharing tips on my third C of Customer Service…

Cultivate. 

What exactly do I mean by Cultivate???

In customer service, cultivate is understanding your client and delivering a mutually acceptable solution. That’s the key – DELIVER THE SOLUTION!   After listening to your customer, being present, identifying with their problem and internalizing it, now it’s time to apply the solution.

You have a clear goal of what needs to be resolved so finish the job and make it happen. 

At the end of the call or visit, do a short recap of what you have discussed, what approach you are suggesting, and any follow up on your part or your customer’s part. Be specific about how you will follow up, what you will do, and what your customer can expect.

Remember, not everyone is the same so not all solutions will make each customer happy.  Sometimes, even if the same issue arises, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board for a new resolution.  Just continue to use the same tools that you’ve already learned: listen without judging, identify your client’s problem, and offer a solution that is mutually acceptable.  Practice these three tips and eventually it will become a natural part of your process.  Just like a basketball player stands at the free throw line and throws the ball over and over again until it becomes habit, so will you practice listening, identifying and solving until it becomes habit.

It’s not easy.  I believe good Customer Service takes constant work and energy, but the payoff can be huge.  Keep practicing, keep smiling and keep listening. 

And if you missed the first two Cs of Customer Service, Clarity and Character, just scroll back to my last two blog posts and you can get caught up.

Next week I’ll share some techniques on how to take care of yourself in the process.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
Tags: , , ,

The Three C’s of Customer Service

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Last week I told a true story of the worst example of customer service I have seen in a long time.  While my friends and I were dining outside on a lovely summer evening, the lights strung above our heads came crashing down, spewing broken glass and sparks everywhere.  Literally – on our heads!!!  The owner came out and was more interested in moving the chairs, never even asking if anyone was hurt.

So this week, I’d like to share with you three key points on GOOD customer service.  These are techniques you can use in a number of ways – with your client, your spouse, your children – in all areas of your life. So here goes:

I have found that Clarity, Character and Cultivate are used in every form of great customer service. Let’s talk about the first.

Clarity:  It’s taking the time to find out what the real problem is; knowing that your goal is to solve that problem.  There is one word, and one word only, that will help you get the greatest clarity on your situation at hand.  LISTEN.

In this day of instant everything, we are all tempted to multitask. There is so much we need to keep up with – emails, texts, social media.  Heck, if you walk away from your computer to get a cup of coffee, you come back to 50 new emails you have to deal with.  So it’s very tempting to look at those emails while you are talking to a client on the phone.  But if you are distracted, you are not totally absorbing what they are saying, or listening to the key words that can uncover what their real problem is.

There’s actually a name for the highest level of listening.  It’s called Empathetic Listening and it’s the hardest level to achieve.  To be successful at this, you must teach yourself to treat every call as though it’s the first time you’ve heard this problem, even though you may have heard it many times before.  See the situation through the eyes of your client.  How can you do this?  I’m glad you asked…

You can accomplish this by:

Asking open ended question

Practice patience

Repeat back what the client said

One way to force yourself to listen is to take notes.  Writing versus typing helps you remember the situation better and gives you more clarity.  It will help you to truly listen to your client .  I know this sounds crazy, but give it a try.  See if it helps you listen better and gain more clarity so you can deliver extraordinary customer service.

Well, it seems like we’ve run out of time on this blog post, so I’ll save Character and Cultivate for next week.  In the meantime, practice clarity.  Let me know how that works for you.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
Tags: , , ,

5 Networking Questions that Actually Work!

Professioal Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

In my blog last week, I shared a unique way to look at face-to-face networking, especially if you are a bit introverted or on the shy side.  The key is to think of networking as simply starting a conversation, that’s all.  You’re not trying to make a sale, interest people in your idea, or land your dream job.  Your only goal is to start a conversation. 

But how can you reach out to people and engage them in a conversation that will help you determine if they are a good fit for you?

Well, here are five specific questions to help you get started.  Five questions that can help you in any networking situation:

  1. Start a conversation with “Where are you from?”  This can trigger a number of different responses.  They could talk about the company they represent, where they grew up or where they currently live.  It is a great start to a conversation because it can be answered in a number of different ways.
  2. When they tell you what they do, ask: “Describe your typical day to me.”  So many times people use industry jargon and you have no idea what they are talking about.  This is a simple way to understand what they do on a day-to-day basis.
  3. Instead of asking “What do you do?” ask “Where do you work?”  It’s a simplier question to ask because people may be more comfortable talking about their company instead of themselves. 
  4. “How did you come up with that idea?”  This is especially good for people who are self-employed.  There is usually a good story behind starting your own business.
  5. Find something in common that you can share with them in your opening conversation.  For instance, “I see that you belong to the chamber.  So do I.

These are just a few examples for getting a conversation started.  Pick and choose the ones that work for you.  Once you ask the question, your next goal is to LISTEN.  Only in listening can you determine if this person is a good match for your service or product.  Only by listening can you decide if you want to follow up with a second meeting.

I’m curious which question works best for you.  Please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
Tags: , ,

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Categories

Archives