Communication Skills: 9 Tips for Listening like You Care
Effective and empathetic listening is one of the most important communication skills we can master to become a rockstar communicator. When people feel they are really being listened to, it makes it easier for them to like and trust us – both important aspects of a successful sales interaction.
Without listening carefully, we will never understand the customer’s true needs and motivations, and so listening is one of the most vital communication skills a salesperson can learn.
Let’s begin – Remember the following communication skills
1. Focus on what they’re saying, not what you’re thinking about what they’re saying. Filtering someone’s words by putting them through your own lens only serves to distort what they are saying. Instead listen to the words being used and…
2. Repeat what they are saying in your head. Instead of filtering or paraphrasing in your head, repeat what they’re saying. This will help you hear it twice, which often helps in understanding. Another way to reinforce what they’re saying and even demonstrate that you’ve listened well is to…
3. Summarise what they’ve said. Whether you do it silently or verbally, summarising what someone has said can be an extremely useful thing to do. When you do it silently, it enables you to further process and create a better understanding of the meta-message behind the words. Summarising verbally enables you to validate how you are interpreting what is being said, and it’s itself an extremely validating thing to do for the other person.
4. Listen with your eyes and facial expressions. Make eye contact and smile. It will encourage people to open up to you, because you appear interested and open to what they’re saying. You can also support eye contact and a smile by nodding and providing verbal encouragement.
Communication skills do not only consist of listening
5. Use your body to listen. Lean forward. Mirror the other person’s physicality. Doing so shows you’re interested and creates rapport between you. Sitting or standing at a 45 or 90 degree angle from the person you’re speaking to also helps reduce any tension or aggressiveness between you, so that you can enjoy a more relaxed interchange of ideas and questions. Another useful approach is to..
6. Ask more follow up questions. People are like onions, you have to peel back the layers in order to get at the core of what they’re trying to communicate. An effective way to do so, is by thinking on your feet and asking related follow up questions. Some people think they have to know something about what is being said in order to ask good questions. That isn’t necessary at all. If you don’t know anything about a subject, use that blissful ignorance to ask questions about it. If you do know something about the subject, as a question that asks the speaker to provide you more detail about what they’ve already said. As you do…
7. Don’t interrupt. Sometimes people have problems with interrupting others. If you recognise this in yourself, take the following steps to stop doing it including: write down what you want to say instead of verbalising it, focus on keeping your mouth physically shut, apologise when you do, and practice counting to 3 before asking questions. These are techniques for listening carefully, comprehending what you’re hearing is aided by…
8. Listening without judgement. It’s about the message, not the messenger. At times, we’re so accustomed to assuming where someone else is coming from, that we assume what they are saying before they finish saying it. Or, we might attempt to filter it to match what we presume the person wants to communicate, instead of really listening to the words being said. One way to help you avoid premature judgement is to…
9. Imagine why they are saying what they are saying. Have you ever heard someone say something that you disagree with? It’s hard not to judge it, and counter with your own mental arguments. Instead, imagine what their motivation might be. Why might this be important to them? Is there something I might not know that might help me understand better?
NOTE: The best way to answer that nagging question about practice growth or marketing or patient volume in the back of your mind is to book a free 15-minute compatibility call. Get some options and go away with a clear idea of what’s possible.
About the author
LiveseySolar’s mission is to double the size of 150 cataract and refractive surgery practices. Using our proven marketing frameworks and deep market knowledge, our customers can predictably and sustainably grow their practices so that they can enjoy a healthy balance between both worlds – a successful private practice and a happy life.
Meet our Founders
Founder & Fractional CMO
Rod co-founded LiveseySolar and acts as a Fractional CMO for our customers. He’s on a mission to help transform the lives of 10,000 people with vision correction surgery by 2024. To achieve that, he inspires his customers to make confident decisions that will help 50,000 people take the first step towards vision correction.
LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.
— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO
Founder & CEO
Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.
Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.
— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK