This week’s Two for Tuesdays suggestion comes straight from my friend, Nancy Myrland of Myrland Marketing – Strategic Social Media, who has two tips for what we should avoid doing when speaking with clients – and these are excellent ones. These are bad habits that we’ve all gotten into (not just with clients, but in general), and I’m certainly guilty myself!
Tip One: Don’t Interrupt – Let Them Finish Their Thoughts
Ah, interrupting. I’m terrible about this. I’m a bit like the word predictor on my iPhone, where I’m three steps ahead, thinking that I know what the other person is going to say, and I start answering them before they’re finished saying it.
Not only is it terribly rude, but I’m not always right about where the conversation is going. And I’m making it about me – I’m in too much of a rush, and I’m thinking too many steps ahead to let them finish their thoughts.
So although it’s difficult, let’s work on pausing. Wait until the person you’re speaking with has finished their thought…completely. I’ll work on it too. It will make us better listeners, which will in turn make us better advocates for our clients. How can we properly do our jobs if we don’t get all the facts, because we’re too busy butting in?
Tip Two: Listen to Hear, Don’t Listen to Respond
Another important tip is about really listening – how many of us have conversations where we’re already formulating our next comments in our heads before the other person has finished talking? Probably all of us!
But what happens when we do that is that we’re not really listening to what the other person is saying – we’re distracted by our own thoughts. I can multitask with the best of them, but it’s not possible to really listen to myself and to the person I’m speaking with at the same time.
So this is another tip I’m going to work on with you. Rather than thinking about what I’m going to say next when someone else is speaking, I’m going to focus on what they’re saying. Again, as in tip one, it’s possible that we’ll miss something if we’re not listening closely enough, and we can be better listeners and service providers if we’re properly focused.
You may remember that I mentioned yesterday that it can be a good idea to put yourself in the other person’s shoes – and this is another of those times I’m going to recommend it. Let’s think for a moment how it feels when someone interrupts us, and when someone jumps in so fast when we finish speaking that it’s clear they weren’t really listening in the first place.
One, it’s a bit hurtful – it makes you feel as if your opinion and words aren’t that important. It’s really not very pleasant at all. I hate when that happens. So imagine that it’s your client in that position. Do you think they’re more likely to want to continue with the person who will listen to them, carefully, and without interruption? Or the person who runs all over their conversations like a bulldozer? Clearly, it’s the former.
Leave it to Nancy to come up with the perfect solution for my Tuesday’s writers block – something that is more polite and kind AND will make us better at client service! A big "thank you" to you!