The Power of Listening

I’ve been thinking and talking a lot about communication – primarily between individual people, and between businesses and their customers/clients/partners.

It’s important to create the space to listen. “Creating space” certainly includes staying quiet so that someone else can speak. Even more than that, it means being ready to hear what they have to say.

It means staying curious enough to be open to surprise.

It means not just waiting your turn to talk.

It means encouraging those who have something to say but don’t know how.

It means choosing your mode of communication based on what’s easier for who you want to hear – not just what’s easiest for you.

It means listening without jumping ahead and guessing what someone means or saying what they “should” do.

It means finding out what tools your customers are using before investing in and launching a campaign to reach them.

It means responding when someone reaches out so they know they were heard and are more likely to trust you to hear them the next time, too.

It means staying responsive and flexible in your communication, your product design, your way of working in the office, your choice of restaurants for meetings.

It means getting off your soapbox, putting down the bullhorn, and rearranging the theater chairs into a circle.

It also means being ready to hear that someone else’s way of thinking is just as valid as yours.

It also means enjoying each other, not just ourselves.