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“Active Listening” is Not a Technique

By: Dave Brock


Active Listening is Not Just a Technique

Catching up on my reading, I ran across an article on Active Listening. It was focused on sales people and the author made the statement, “Active listening makes them feel like they are being heard…”

I’m sure that’s not what the author intended to communicate, but it got me thinking about many other things I hear and read about active listening.

Active listening—at least true active listening—is not a technique. We know some of the things we do in active listening: playing back what the individual is saying, mirroring, probing/questioning. These are all very important and very helpful in understanding.

And that’s really the point of active listening—it is to understand, it is to want to learn, it is to truly care. Active listening isn’t good because the other party feels like they are being heard, active listening works because the person is genuinely being heard.

Active listening enables us to see things from the customer point of view—not just factually, but emotionally. We get to understand their hopes, dreams, aspirations. We get to understand their fears, concerns. We can’t listen actively if we aren’t engaged.

Can you imagine, listening, while browsing texts on your phone, nodding sympathetically and periodically saying “I feel your pain…” Yeah, I know I’m exaggerating, but sometimes the discussions on active listening seem like variants of this.

Ironically, active listening/engagement generally begets active listening/engagement. That is, when we are genuinely listening, actively, the people we are listening to will also tend to start listening actively.

Then we—each person—become engaged in a conversation. Then we become engaged in learning/discovering. We become more open to different points of view. We become empathetic as opposed to sympathetic.

People buy from people who listen to them. People buy from people they trust, people buy from people who care. People buy from people who can and want to help them succeed.

This only starts with genuine active listening.

Published: March 13, 2018

Source: Partners in Excellence

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Dave Brock

Dave Brock is the founder of Partners in EXCELLENCE, a consulting and services company helping to improve the effectiveness of business professionals with strategy development, organizational planning, and implementation. Dave has spent his career working for and with high performance organizations, ranging from the Fortune 25 to startups, including companies such as IBM, HP, Nokia, AT&T, Microsoft, General Electric, and many, many more. The work Dave does with business strategies is closely tied to personal effectiveness of the people in the organization. As a result, Dave is deeply involved in the development of a number of training and coaching programs.

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