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Listening For Profit
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Have you ever 'listened' for profit? Listening is harder than one might think, so below are tips to develop better listening skills that will help you develop and grow your Virtual Assistant business.


We hope you enjoy this issue, and as always, email us if you have any questions. We will answer your email - We are here for you! Our email is

'Listening' For Profit
by Robert C. Brenner, MSEE, MSSM


Ever wonder how many companies would still be here if their owners had listened to the marketplace? Not "heard" the marketplace. "Listened" to the marketplace!

Not listening is the main cause of lost opportunity. It's vital to every aspect of business. It lets you understand others, recognize problems, gain valuable information, and discover solutions. The key to better listening is you. To increase profit, work hard to improve your ability to listen.

"Her words were few and didn't glisten.
Yet she profited much because she could listen."

Several years ago, I learned an acronym for remembering the key points of good listening. The acronym is "LADDER". Here's what LADDER means:

The "L" stands for LOOK. Look at the person speaking. Keep your eyes focused on them. By looking directly at them, you convey dynamic interest. This helps you clarify the content of their message. It also lets you observe their facial expressions and judge their intent.

"A" stands for ASK. To keep the conversation from bogging down and a speaker from rambling, ask questions periodically. Be aware that asking questions beginning with "where," "when," and "who" can result in a single word answer. These are called "closed" questions. If you ask questions beginning with "why," "what," or "how," you will usually get an open-ended response. The "open-ended" question results in more
information (useful intelligence) being shared in their response.


The first "D" in "LADDER" is for DON'T. Don't interrupt. Many people have a tendency to jump into a conversation with their own ideas. This is precisely the problem in failing to communicate. Stepping on a person's thought is just as rude as stepping on their toes. People avoid contact with interrupters. So, bite your tongue, and wait your turn. Let them finish their idea or sentence before you add to or clarify their message.


The second "D" also stands for DON'T. Don't change the subject. This is another way to alienate a customer. It's insulting if you immediately switch the conversation to another subject. Let them complete and close on their thought before you switch tracks and go off in another direction.

"E" represents EMOTION. If you are conversing with another person and they become emotional, don't overreact. Martial art experts know that the moment you become emotional, you lose control of the situation. When you lose control, you lose the ability to influence the other person. Instead, when listening, hear them out. Concentrate on the message and not the debate.

Finally, "R" stands for RESPOND. Show that you are listening. Your demeanor, your posture, and your facial expressions convey your acknowledgment. Sit or stand straight. Look attentive. Don't slouch. While they're talking, occasionally nod your head in agreement or move it slowly side to side in sympathetic understanding. Contribute an occasional "hmm-mmm" or "uh-huh" to show that you received the message. A periodic question can help you focus on the message and show the speaker that you're listening.

To listen better, use a LADDER - Look. Ask. Don't interrupt. Don't change the subject. Control your Emotions. And Respond to the speaker through gestures, short utterances, and questions. Each rung of the ladder is important. The message is clear: To increase profit opportunities, don't just hear  - LISTEN!


About the author:

Robert Brenner is the author of Small Business Guide to Pricing, Pricing Strategies and Supernatural & Strange Happenings in the Bible: An Engineer's Study of Scripture. Details are at You can email him at

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