Stop Talking and Start Listening
When I worked in a newspaper, people told me things that they shouldn’t have.
Maybe my youthful innocence was disarming, or they had no experience with the media.
But my secret weapon was that I listened.
As much as reporters must ask good questions, they also need to listen.
It is a critical skill but is often overlooked or underestimated.
The biggest challenge is people like to talk more than they like to listen.
We like the sound of our own voices.
And we’re not good listeners.
We hear people but don’t focus on the nuances, intonations, and underlying messages.
Instead, we impatiently wait for an opening to talk again.
One of my favourite tricks was the “pregnant pause” when I was a reporter.
After someone finished answering a question, I waited before asking the next one.
The silence made people uncomfortable so they continued to talk and would go off-script or tell me something juicy.
For all the talk about talking to customers, the magic really happens when you listen to them.
Book a 20-minute call (an easy ask!) to ask them four or five questions.
- Let them do most of the talking.
- Make your questions short, snappy and open-ended.
- If they pause, don’t say anything or encourage them with “So, tell me more”.
You’ll discover that customers have a lot to say and they’re happy to spill the beans if you let them….and listen.