LISTENING is a core and critical behavior in both business and personal relationships, and it's a key tenet of Carew International's DPS sales training.  Listening to someone lets that person know that their needs and concerns are more important to you than your own, which contributes to the solid foundation behind any relationship - trust, credibility and rapport.

Listening has been described as an active process that involves:

  1. Hearing words
  2. Attaching meaning to the words used
  3. Evaluating feelings those words evoke, and
  4. Determining how we'll respond, all in a matter of seconds

The last three steps are most affected by a filtering process based on our own prior knowledge.  In other words, our life experiences can shape our understanding of what we're hearing.

Perhaps we too often presume we are already good at listening.  We do it all the time, right?  Research from the book Perceptive Listening suggests that "three-fourths of all information communicated orally is ignored, distorted or forgotten," (Wolff, Marsnik, Tacey and Nichols).  American humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers defined "active listening" as understanding not only the facts, but the feelings that accompany the facts.  A recommitment to "listen more" and "listen better" in 2012 would improve our relationships across many different levels and circumstances.

Because our filters get in the way of effective listening, we need to concentrate, remain focused on listening and think about WHY this person is saying what they are saying:

  • What are you trying to say? [Listen for words choices and consider the meanings that may or may not be intended by the speaker]
  • How do you feel? [Look for the feeling behind the words, following facial expressions, body position, eyes and gestures]
  • You are more important than me. [Resist interrupting, commenting, and reacting: acknowledge, either verbally or nonverbally that are interested in the other person]

If we make the effort to listen more and to listen better, we demonstrate empathy to another person and build enduring, rewarding relationships.