One skill that cannot be practiced enough to improve both your professional and personal relationships is listening. It is essential for successful negotiations, for discovering opportunities to increase your business and also for enriching the level of rapport you have with others.
When we take our cat, Quincy, for walks (Q-walks) we have observed that he is on “red alert” (he is a red Abyssinian). Once he embarks on his outdoor journeys he noticeably shifts into a higher level of listening. This is not necessary a defensive mindset. In this state he is more attentive not only to sounds of potential danger, but also for opportunities to chase down lizards, birds, gophers, et al.
This year, we decided to up our own listening game in all of our relationships. Instead of taking our phones and catching up on the news while on Q-walks, we are practicing the meditative listening technique of tuning-in to ambient sounds and quieting our minds.
We have already seen ways to apply our expanded listening skills in business. Instead of panicking, we calmly tuned in to a situation that potentially could disrupt the future business of one of our clients. We were able to help them anticipate their competitor’s next moves and address them now before they become a problem later down the line. In the process, a tremendous opportunity to significantly increase business presented itself.
Take a tip from Quincy (a Q-tip); practice being in “red-alert” listening mode more often. Being more calm and attentive not only allows you to respond more effectively in emergencies, it makes you more receptive both to business opportunities and a deeper understanding of others.