Listening: The value of paying attention

| November 4, 2015

Listening: The value of paying attention

We live in a noisy world where everyone is shouting to get attention. It’s difficult to attract customers, build connections, and have your own unique identity when so many people are talking at the same time. When you’re networking and establishing new connections, it’s vital to find ways to grab attention.

Talking might not be the right way. Several people believe that they need to express themselves, to explain their passion for their business, and the quality of their product. They feel that they’ll only get connections if they are speaking as loudly as everyone else. But many marketing and networking experts believe that listening is more important. Let’s have a look at why it’s so.

Don’t Hear, Listen

Developing connections and networking is like building a relationship. You need to work hard, you need to understand the person standing before you, you need to connect with them and share ideas. Like relationships, networking fails if you don’t pay attention to what others are saying.

Sometimes, you might be thinking of coming up with the right response and forget to listen to what people are saying. The intention is to understand what the person you’re talking to is saying. You need to give them due respect and consider their opinions. That way, you can learn things and gain respect in return.

Have Positive Body Language

We live in a world where we’re becoming increasingly disconnected and yet, hyper-connected at the same time. For example, with phones, emails, and other such communication advances, you call your friends instead of meeting them; mail your relatives, instead of visiting them or inviting them to dinner. This influences how we interact with people. Practice makes perfect, after all.

If you don’t interact face-to-face with people, you don’t really understand the importance of body language, of expressions and gestures. You might be sending adversarial cues to your conversation partner without even realizing it. Keep your body language open and welcoming. Don’t cross your arms defensively or place hands on your hips. Don’t shift and fidget as that can make you appear nervous or bored.

Read Emotions and Respond Accordingly

Many entrepreneurs believe that sympathy and empathy don’t belong in the world of business. In some circumstances, they’re right. However, when you’re networking and building connections, it’s vital for a small business owner to connect with the human aspect of people. You need to respond to the emotional cues dropped by the person before you.

If you’re uncomfortable or unsure about how to respond, just listen. Sometimes silence and attention is enough to connect with others.

Mind your Words

You can’t be silent and listen all the time. You need to speak too. But there are ways you can ruin your networking connections without intending to. A misspoken word or a foolish statement can discourage a valuable connection. For example, if you happen to meet an influencer, your business would benefit if you’re able to establish a good rapport with her.

However, if you offend her or say something that’s casts a bad light on you, you might miss that chance. By listening and paying attention to details at a networking event or opportunity, you can build important connections. Connections are vital for business growth.