Assessment Business Center

Do You Know How to Listen?

Posted by on Dec 27, 2013 in Assessment Business Center | 0 comments

The 10 Commandments of Powerful Listening

 

 

Rules for being a good listener involve courtesy and common sense. Some rules may seem obvious, or trivial, but it is amazing how many people forget them. Often, you don’t mean to be rude, but your enthusiasm for a subject and your own desire to hear yourself talk make you forget courtesy. At other times, you are so intent with expressing your own viewpoint that you forget to listen to what the other person is saying. You just plain stop listening!

 

Here are some rules for good listening:

 

1. Fight off distractions. Train yourself to listen carefully to your prospect’s words despite such external distractions as a ringing telephone, passersby, or outside noises. Focus on words, ideas, feelings, and the underlying intent of your prospects.

 

2. Do not trust your memory. Take notes. However, keep your notes brief, because listening ability is impaired while you are writing. All you need to write down is something to jog your memory later so that you can recall the complete content of the message.

 

3. Let your prospects tell their own stories first. When prospects explain their situations, they may reveal interesting facts and valuable clues that will aid you in helping them to solve their problems and satisfy their needs. Then, you can tailor your discussion to their particular needs, goals, and objectives. You can thus dispense with those aspects of your presentation that may have been inappropriate to that specific prospect.

 

4. Use feedback. Constantly try to check your understanding of what you hear. Do not hear only what you want to hear. In addition, consistently check to see if your prospect wants to comment or respond to what you have previously said.

 

5. Listen selectively. Very often in conversation, your prospects will tell you specific things that will help you identify their problems. These critical messages may be hidden within the much broader context of the conversation. You must listen in such a way that you can separate the wheat from the chaff.

 

6. Relax. When your prospect is speaking to you, try to put this individual at ease by creating a relaxed and accepting environment. Don t give the impression you want to jump right in and speak.

 

7. Listen attentively. Face your prospects straight on, with uncrossed arms and legs, and lean slightly forward. Establish good eye contact. Nod affirmatively and use appropriate facial expressions when called for, but don’t overdo it.

 

8. Create a positive listening envıronment. Try to ensure an atmosphere of privacy away from sources of distraction. Do not violate your prospect’s “personal space.” Take great effort to make sure that the environment is conducive to effective listening.

 

9. Ask questions. Ask open‑ended questions to allow your prospects to express their feelings and thoughts. The effective use of questions shows your prospects that you are interested and that you are listening, and it allows you to contribute to the conversation.

 

10. Be motivated to listen. Without the proper attitude, all the foregoing suggestions for effective listening are for naught. Try to keep in mind that there is no such thing as an uninteresting speaker—there are only uninterested listeners.

 

These are the 10 commandments of powerful listening. If you are really willing to learn how to listen it will take a lot of hard work to learn the skills, and constant practice to stay in shape. Remember that prospects feel relieved when they find salespeople who understand what they have to say about their problems. Once you truly understand your prospects by actively listening to them, they will most likely reciprocate by listening to you and trying to understand your viewpoint. Isn’t this what selling is all about?

 

 

This article was adapted from Tony Alessandra’s new six‑cassette audio alburn, The Dynamics of Effective Listening, available for $59. To place your order or receive information about Dr. Alessandra speaking to your group, call 1-800-222-4383.

Read More

You have to make a speech-nervous?

Posted by on Dec 27, 2012 in Assessment Business Center, Business | 0 comments

Preparing for Success in Speaking

The success of your speaking is determined primarily by the time you spend preparing before you step in front of your audience.  A good presentation requires careful planning and lack of planning is always apparent.  Sure clues are speeches that are too long, too detailed, confusing, vague, boring or off-track.  You can spend less time producing short, powerful presentations if you systematically prepare beforehand.

 

The often overlooked first and most critical step in preparation is understanding the “what” and the “why” of your presentation: its purpose.  Your purpose should be the broad general outcome you want the presentation to achieve.  Here are three questions you can ask yourself to clarify the objective of your presentation:

o  Why am I giving this presentation?

o  What do I want the audience to know or do at the end of the presentation?

o  How do I want the audience to feel?

It often helps us prepare for a presentation when we understand the different types of presentations.  Here are four basic types that differ primarily in the amount of detail presented and the level of persuasiveness required to meet the objective of the presentation:

 

            Sales –  Use the sales presentation to sell an idea or suggestion to clients, upper management, co-workers, or employees.  You may also use the sales presentation to persuade an audience to take a particular action or adopt a belief.  This type of presentation uses a lot of persuasive skills and seldom requires extensive detail.

            Explanatory — The explanatory presentation is best used to familiarize, give an overall perspective, or identify new developments.  It should rarely involve heavy detail, but should offer the audience new or renewed information and understanding.  It does not require extensive persuasive efforts.

            Instructional –  When you want to teach others how to use something, such as a new procedure or a piece of hardware, use the instructional presentation.  There is usually more audience participation and involvement with this presentation format.  It generally involves extensive detail.  This is a persuasive presentation because you are convincing your audience to use a new technique or to adopt a new method of doing something.

 

            Oral report– oral reports bring the audience up to date on something with which they are already familiar.  These generally focus on facts, figures and other details and involve little persuasive efforts.

Relax and try to enjoy it!

 

 

Know Your Audience

 

After you have a statement of purpose and understand the type of presentation you will be giving, you must consider the particular audience you have in mind and how to mold your presentation to fit the specific characteristics of that audience.  The more time you devote to analyzing your audience beforehand, the less you will have to do “on the spot.”

 

Here are some ways you can acquire information in advance regarding your audience:

 

o  Ask the presentation host for information about the audience.  Find out general demographics such as age, sex, professional level, specific interests and needs.  Also ask what the group has responded well to in the past.  What presentation styles were well received?

 

            o  Talk to members of the audience.  If possible, arrive early enough to survey one or more members of the audience to find out what they expect and what they would like to hear.

 

            o  Talk to other speakers.  If you know other speakers who have spoken to the same group, ask them what worked and what they would do differently with the group.

 

Here are some questions you should always ask yourself to help you to analyze the needs of each particular audience you will address.

 

-Why should they listen to you?

-How does what you say affect them?

-What’s in it for them to listen to you?

-Why is it important for the audience to hear what you have to say?

 

Read More