4 Keys to Winning More Business by Just Listening

Working on a computer
Lisa Thal

4 Keys to Winning More Business by Just Listening

If there is one communication skill you should master, it is the ability to listen. Actively listening can be the key to opening more sales and providing better customer satisfaction. It can also build better relationships with your co-workers.

Research suggests that the average person hears between 20,000 and 30,000 words during the course of a 24-hour period, but at times, listening may be difficult for us. There are more electronic distractions today than ever before. Everyone, including our clients, wants to know they are heard. When you’re aware of the importance of listening, you can focus on being fully and actively present for each interaction.

Here are some interesting facts and figures that CreditDonkey took about how well people listen and what it is we listen to.

How much time do people spend listening?
People spend between 70 – 80% of their day engaged in some form of communication, and about 55% of their time is devoted to listening.

What’s the average speaking rate?
Some people talk more than others, but on average, the typical person speaks anywhere from 125 to 175 words per minute.

How many words do we listen to per minute?
Your ears work a little faster than your mouth. The average number of words you’re able to listen to per minute is around 450.

How much of what we hear is absorbed?
Even though your ears are capable of picking up on so many words, your brain doesn’t necessarily process all of them. Most people usually only remember about 17 to 25% of the things they listen to.

Are men or women better listeners?
Research shows that men only use half their brain to listen while women engage both lobes.

How important are the words we say?
You might be surprised to learn that your words only convey about 7% of what you’re trying to say. The other 93% is communicated through facial expressions and the tone of your voice.

Are you ready to become a better listener? Here’s how!

1. Listen with intention. Ever wonder why we have two ears and one mouth? We should listen twice as long as we speak. Put aside any distractions that prohibit you from listening.

2. Listen to learn. Approach each conversation with the intention to learn something new. Then, write down what you learned from the conversation.

3. Ask probing questions. By asking thought-proving questions it keeps your brain engaged. You will build better rapport by allowing the other person to share their thoughts and insights.

4. Wait to respond. Let the other person finish speaking prior to you responding. I would recommend allowing a pause before you respond. This gives you time to process what the other person is trying to communicate with you.

I love how Richard Branson describes the importance of listening. “Effective listening is a skill that underpins all positive human relationships. Spend some time thinking about and developing your listening skills; they are the building blocks of success.”

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