Recently I found myself in a situation where I was exceeding expectations. In fact I was doing so well that I even gave myself a silent, "atta boy". The scenario was a visit from a relative and I handled everything; transportation, housing, entertainment, special meals and even some "surprise extras" to put it over the top.
I failed on every account.
This isn't brought up as a pity party, but as a reminder to all of us that exceeding expectations starts with understanding basic needs first. Now I realize that many of you reading this are silently saying, "Duh, that is obvious". But I promote that my snafu was not so unlike the way you communicate at times as well. Obviously I had the best of intentions, as do you when talking with clients, friends and family. And like you, I listened and took their wants and needs into account.
Herein lies the crux of the problem. I didn't listen. And unfortunately traveling merrily down a path of service that doesn't meet others needs, adds to communication confusion. Not only are you not receiving the accolades or business you are expecting, you may be met with communication silence or even hostility. And even worse, you don't know why.
When "listening" do you ever find yourself jumping in before the other person is finished talking, silently judging what they are saying, thinking about what you are going to say next and determining what they "want", before the conversation is finished?
The good news is that all of these poor communication habits are just that, habits not addictions.
And because 95% of our reactions are habits, they can be changed and replaced with better, more useful habits. In fact, your success depends on those habits you choose to develop.
Several studies of successful people in various walks of life and professions show that anyone can be successful if they employ deliberate practice. Let me say that again. Anyone can be successful by incorporating deliberate practice. Deliberate practice involves a specific behavior targeted at achieving a specific goal and then practicing that action until the goal is attained consistently.
According to employee surveys, the number one trait admired in leaders is the ability to listen. Sadly, it is also expressed as the trait most lacking in leaders. Listening shows involvement, interest and respect. And regardless of your titled position; CSR, front line or line crew, production manager, market coach, GM, sales manager or CEO, we all have a leadership role to play.
Commit to learning how to listen, Incorporate deliberate practice and you will not only connect with others needs and wants, you will be able to confidently offer service that is fun, creative and on target. Others you interact with will be exceedingly happy and loyal. You in turn will reap benefits - all you desire.
I'll end this article with the following thought and urge you to post it where you can reflect on its meaning in your business, on your team and in your life.
"Unconscious communication causes pain."