The importance of listening

I've been doing a lot of listening lately. Listening to my clients, listening to the people I want to serve, listening to what they need and the words they use. 

When you start a new business, no matter how experienced you are (and I've been around the block a few times), you need to do a lot of listening, and tweaking, and sharing, and then more listening. 

It amazes me how bad most of us are at listening - really listening - especially in online conversations. We're either too keen to broadcast our own stuff, and prove how brilliant we are, or we're waiting for our turn to speak and formulating our response in our heads as the other person is talking.

One of the most powerful gifts you can give another person is your complete and undivided attention.

Nobody wants unsolicited advice.

Nobody wants to be told how their situation is exactly like one you went through (hint: it probably isn't ).

Nobody wants to feel like what's happening on your phone is more important than what they have to say.

Everybody, without exception, wants to be seen, and heard, and understood.

Everybody wants to feel connected.

The best way to do this is to pay attention to whomever you're speaking with. Block out any distractions and give the other person your full attention. Listen to what they're not saying, as well as their words. Watch their body language. Remember what you already know about them and how this affects what they're trying to communicate. Make it all about THEM.

And most of all, just shut up and listen.

This works in your personal conversations beautifully (try it, I guarantee the quality of your relationships will improve a hundredfold), but also in the conversations you have around and within your business.

The only way to build a thriving community around your business is to listen to what people need from such a community, and provide it for them.

Your business is never about you, really, it's always about the people you serve. Listen to them, pay attention to what they tell you, and refine your offerings, language, and processes accordingly.

They will always make you better at what you do.