I have often stated the phraseology “Can you hear me now?” created from a brilliant Verizon Wireless marketing campaign years ago that had such impact people today still reverting back to it when signal of a cell tower fades. Such a small simple phrase, but has so many meanings, especially in our world today.  One thing I have learned through many business ventures is we absolutely have to take time to “Hear” what people have to say before we can really help them.  People want to be heard and not just spoken to.

In my travels for work, I have spent quite a bit of time in the Salt Lake City area.  As I drive, I am typically busy talking on the phone, having conversations with business partners.  There is always one billboard, brilliant in my opinion, that catches my attention every time I am down there. One of the largest car dealerships in the Salt Lake City area is a company called Ken Garff.  Here it is.

Ken Garff Nissan

Instead of advertising their newest vehicle, they are trying to tell their potential customer base we understand what you are looking for.  You want someone to listen to what you have to say and not just try to sell you a car.  They finally get it.

The phrase”Can you hear me now” now relates to more than just a cellular device.  It relates to every aspect of business.  Whether you are a sales rep for a company dealing with current and potential clients, a manager managing a customer service floor of 100+ people or the CEO for a Fortune 500 company, everyone wants to be heard.  Everyone has an innate sense of belonging to a greater purpose and cause, and if a sales rep, manager, or CEO will take the time to really listen, they will learn things about the people they surround themselves with and will finally be able to really understand where they are coming from and what they want to accomplish.

Here are a few suggestions to help you better understand how to really listen to those around you.

  1. Eliminate distractions – We have a tendency, with the speed of our lives today, to be distracted by so many things. Last I hear the average attention span of an individual is roughly 9 seconds.  We are training ourselves to have attention problems.  Think about the last time you went to a Starbucks coffee shop to meet with a friend or business partner.  Did you observe the people around you in the middle of a conversation?  Did you check you cell phone? Did you check your Facebook account to make sure you weren’t missing anything in the virtual world?  If you did then you are missing something. You are missing the moment.  Remember your friend, business partner took time out of their busy schedule to meet you, so make sure you are present.
  2. Ask Questions – The best way to really engage in a conversation is to be genuinely interested in what is happening in the lives of those you are meeting with.  My rule of thumb is simple… 2 questions asked to every one question they ask you.  Try it.  You will not only learn something new from every person you come in contact with.
  3. LISTEN – You have two ears and one mouth, use proportionately!  Simple but true!

“Can you Hear me NOW?”  Are we really willing to make a change today?   Make it a goal today to eliminate distractions, ask questions and really listen and you will be amazed at what you learn!

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