Learn How to Listen Well

The reality of this skill, is that it has more to do with the other person, that it does with you. I think that’s the essence of selling: aligning with the other person. And it starts with you. In other words, the whole point of interpersonal sales situations is to have an impact on the other person. One of the most important ways to do this is by learning to listen well. This is a key philosophy of Software Sales Skills.

This is one that you’ve no doubt heard many times over. However, it is a sad truth that of all the disciplines taught in schools today, none include as part of a regular program, skills on how to listen. Taking the time to develop this skill will improve every area of your life. I know. Before I knew how to listen well, I didn’t realise how poor the quality of my relationships and communications really were. In my opinion and experience, the five best rules to effective listening are:

  1. Look at the other person. Don’t look over their shoulder. Don’t look at your watch. Don’t look away unless it is a part of the conversation. But don’t stare at them either! They’ll think you’re weird. Move your gaze from their mouth to their eyes. And look back and forth between their eyes. This isn’t easy because paying attention to anything, especially people (who generally talk way too much) is HARD WORK. But the rewards are well worth it. The point here is to focus on the person with whom you’re talking and that involves rule number two…
  2. Focus your body directly at or generally towards the other person. Use your judgement here. If you’re having coffee with a friend, a body posture that you’d use in a job interview is sure to look odd. Just make sure that when you’re listening to someone, you LOOK like you’re paying attention. Pretend that someone is scoring your listening body posture from across the room. Sit in a way that shows you’re interested, even if you’re not! This is a very strong compliment to other speaker because it shows that you care enough to orient your body in such a way to maximize your relations with them.
  3. Listen for emotions and ideas not words or poor speaking ability. It’s the message you’re listening for, not whether this person speaks like prince charming. You want to know what makes the other person feels good and bad. People are motivated only by fear of loss and desire for gain. If you listen for the things the other person wants and doesn’t want you’ll be on your way to making a friend for life. Then, if you can catch the reasons, or ideas behind why that is the case for the speaker, you will understand their point of view. This is a critical milestone in developing trust and confidence. All good negotiators and salespeople understand this. Everyone can benefit from this one!
  4. Pause once the other person has finished speaking. Wait a few seconds. Let their words sink into your brain and use the second or two of silence to make sure they’ve said everything they can for the moment. I can’t tell you how many times I used this technique only to have the person say “AND…” Then share some critical piece of information with me. Next, in your own words, paraphrase what you’ve heard. If you’re unclear on some of the points, ask for clarification. Say, “I understood the part about how you got to the store, but I didn’t get it when you said…” You get the picture. These actions are the highest compliments that you can pay your speaker because it shows two things.

A. You were actually listening and heard what mattered to that person. (Emotions and ideas)
B. You cared enough to see things from their point of view and put it in your words. (Paraphrased their words)

5.Don’t finish other people’s sentences or give the word that they are looking for unless they ask for. It takes the ‘sense’ of power and the spotlight away from the other person. Not a good thing to do when you want them to feel important. This is so hard to do because we are always thinking of what we’d say next or trying to figure out what the speaker is going to say next. The reason for this is simple. Studies show that people speak at an average of 200-300 words per minute. But since we think in terms of pictures, the verbal equivalent is that we think at a rate of 600-3000 words per minute. Now it’s easy to see why it’s so hard to focus on the other person and not our own thoughts and desires.

These are five rules that I rarely break in personal & professional domains. I hope you find them as useful as I do.

Arnab Ghosh

My name is Arnab Ghosh. I have been working as a Corporate professional for the past 19 years. After completing my graduation from City College {University of Calcutta}, I started my career with R.S.Software India, followed by Vedika Software Pvt.Ltd. Have worked with industry giants such as Convergys, Satyam Nipuna Services, Wipro BPO, Tata Teleservices Limited, Aircel, TaxiForSure, Brainware University among others. I am a certified trainer from Aircel Academy – Manager As a Coach & Trainer. I have also completed certifications from TBO Academy & Alison Education in the field of “Soft Skills“, the knowledge of which I apply to my students at my University regularly. I have also successfully completed “The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing” certification from Google and “Digital Marketing Course” from TBO Academy. I was awarded “Google Analytics for Beginners” certificate by Google after successfully completing their course. I have achieved CEFR level B2 (Upper Intermediate) in a test of English proficiency from the British Council English Score. I am a bundle of drive, energy, commitment, and dedication and firmly believe in living my life in my own terms, be it working my heart out to achieve business targets or enjoying my spare time doing things that give me joy and feelings of contentment. My hobbies include reading books & listening to music and blogging. I sincerely believe that one should never lose focus in life and that one has to put in a lot of hard work & effort to reach the top.