During one of my training sessions, I met an individual who I had the chance to engage in a conversation during one of our breaks. I asked her how she started working at this particular company and one thing led to another. Before long I knew how she had arrived in Texas from California, how she selected a certain university because they offered her specific major and finally how all this led to where and why she was working where she was.
During one of the segments of our training session, I mentioned the value genuine conversations and the benefits that paying attention to customers can afford you both personally and professionally. She made a comment to the extent of questioning if that still mattered in today’s world. She asked, “Given all the technologies available, and with people wanting everything as quickly as possible, can paying attention really make that much difference? I responded by asking if I could give her a personal example.
At this point I began to tell her everything she had shared with me at the break about herself almost two hours earlier. I did not miss a detail. Her mouth dropped. “How did you remember all of that?” she asked. I told her it was because I made an effort to pay attention to what she was telling me. I further stated, “Think of all the great people and encounters we will miss if we never engage people in conversations and really pay attention to what they are saying.” Think of all the missed business opportunities that might pass you by and end up in the possession of a competitor. Did that get your attention?
One great attribute to help you engage in conversations and pay attention is learn to be a great listener. I said great not good. Here are some tips to enhance your listening skills.
Establish great eye contact. When someone is talking to you, look at them. Be in the room physically and mentally.
Positive body language.A nod of the head in approval and leaning forward signifies you are on the same page with the person talking.
Smile and engage in the conversation. Simply put, talk back! Ask questions, make comments and restate in your words what you heard them say. Repeating what someone says in your own words can help you remember and recall it later.
Paying attention reaps great benefits for both the person talking and the person listening. Great relationships both personally and professionally are established when genuine communication through attentive conversations are experienced on a regular basis.