You can probably remember taking courses to hone your skills in reading, writing, and speaking. But how many of you remember taking a course in listening? It is under-appreciated in the classroom, but in my opinion, it is the most important skill of the four.

So, let’s devote this month’s Morsel to the under-appreciated skill of Listening. Here are a few tips on making yourself a better listener, which in turn makes you a better marketer…

  • NO DISTRACTIONS. If you are one of 6.4 million people who keep a cell phone handy, turn it off and give the person who is speaking your undivided attention. It can be close to impossible to listen to two voices at a time and understand either one.
  • BE OBVIOUS YOU ARE LISTENING. Your body language should give you a clue you are “dialed in” and open-minded, ready to absorb the input. Throw in an occasional “yes” or “a-ha” if it fits the moment. Head nods work too.
  • PROVIDE FEEDBACK. Sometimes it’s good to clarify what’s being said. Be prepared to say something like “I think you’re trying to tell me…” or “do you mean…”? to make sure the two of you are on the same wavelength.
  • KEEP THE ZONE “JUDGEMENT FREE”. Do your best to let the speaker finish what he or she is saying before adding a remark to the dialogue.
  • KEEP YOUR RESPONSE APPROPRIATE. Try to avoid being critical or argumentative when you speak up yourself. If you have a point of view which helps resolve an issue, go for it, with respect. It keeps the discussion going in the right direction. And it starts with listening to what you are hearing.

Ok, you can speak now.

View previous monthly morsels on our Free Marketing Advice page.