Whether it be social media or conversation, being a good listener is an ideal way to make a good impression.
Early in my social media marketing career, long before we thought about tracking comments and shares, I wrote a blog post in which I commented on something a social media pundit had written.
I was shocked when he commented on my blog a few hours later.
Now, this seems like a foregone conclusion that he would monitor what was being said about him. But back then it was still novel practice.
Today, we expect keyword monitoring but are we really any better at listening when it comes to conversation?
Tips on How to Score Big in the Art of Listening for Chambers
So how do you become a better listener in online and offline conversations?
- Your first thoughts when participating in a conversation should never be about solving a problem. We’ll get to that. Instead, go on a fact-finding mission. Look to understand the background of the problem or situation, the people involved, the expectations, and other details. Even if there’s not a “problem” per se, you want to know everything you can about the subject at hand.
- Ask good questions and wait for an answer. Then reflect on that answer to make sure you understand what they’re saying.
- Use their answers to explore more options. Give the speaker time to shine by making them an expert on the subject matter they’re conversing about.
- See your conversation as being an opportunity to learn something.
- Don’t let your viewpoint clog your ears. For most of us, its rare a simple conversation will change our mind about the topic but it is important to listen before applying your internal conversation and stereotypes about the topic to what’s being said.
- Offer a solution if you have one. Brainstorm together or make an introduction for them to someone who can help or be of interest/has similar interests.