How Listening Builds Better Business Relationships
Listening is a learnable skill!
That’s the good news for those of you who like me have failed at times to listen actively or carefully. In business relationships, it seems how one listens directly corresponds to how they fulfill their obligations in the relationship. For example, the casual listening account manager or customer representative could be attempting to take notes in a meeting while checking emails on their phone resulting in missing key project installation points. As the project unfolds, these two professionals must work through the delays and friction caused by them both failing to grasp who for example, is responsible for door lock power supplies. Carefully listening professionals are attuned to the project or the needs of the initiative so they are paying close attention to every aspect of the discussion knowing the end result is to get this project installed; meeting the client’s needs and timeline.
Successful business relationships usually contain professionals who employ excellent listening techniques such as caring about not just what is said but how it is stated, with what type of tonality, as well as taking into account non-verbal communications. These all can be practiced and over time become fundamentally part of our approach to communicating with other professionals. Consider a few small first steps:
- Care – This is a small first step and an existential requirement for your business career – care about what you are involved in
- Always be prepared to take notes when in conversations
- Do not be afraid to gently interrupt conversation requesting clarification or more details
- Demonstrate respect towards all in the conversation by addressing each party by name
- Disagree in a nurturing manner, focused on the topic, not the speakers, and suggest related but alternative paths
At M3T Corporation we all aspire to listen well to our clients. What we hear we document and then share across the customer team. Our Account Managers are tasked with interpreting client needs and envisioning the solution – then demonstrating it where applicable. Our Customer Solutions Team then designs and fulfills on the solution. Our Customer Care Team helps to support and maintain the solution throughout its lifespan. As we move through the month of January 2020 we will be contributing more articles on How Listening Builds Better Business Relationships (HLBBBR we love acronyms). Thank you for reading and please share your comments with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Maffey, CPP, PSP