Many years ago, when my daughter Kathleen was 3 years old, she walked into my office and asked me a question. Being the wonderful mom that I thought I was, I nodded my head to let her know I was listening. She asked me the question again, and I nodded again. Then she walked over to me, put each one of her tiny hands on each of my cheeks, tugged my face so I was looking directly at her face, and she said, “Mom, listen with your eyes.”
That was a stunning statement! And, it’s one that I think about each day.
How often do we have a conversation with a person without ever looking them in the eyes because we are too busy working on a project or thinking about the next person we want to meet?
I attend five to nine business, social and nonprofit functions a week. I witness the rudeness of people communicating with others. I see a person conversing with a group of three, yet looking over their shoulders to see if there is a more important person he can meet.
But what I experience more than anything is the non-communications that occur these days. People don’t talk on phones anymore. They text! A complete conversation occurs via text. I used to think it was funny when I saw the television commercial about a family texting each other at a kitchen table. Each person had his or her face in the phones, and their fingers were swiftly typing on the keypads. I thought … that is funny. But now … that is us!
It’s time to get back to the old fashioned communications and really talk with people. As I converse with folks over the phone – I listen with my eyes which means I am concentrating on the person I am communicating with at that moment. Telephone conversations allow us to “hear” inflection of how someone is responding to us.
Here is my challenge to you: This week, pick up the phone and begin the communication with a voice-to-voice conversation. If they don’t answer, which 80 percent of the time they won’t, then leave a voicemail as to why you called. And here are steps to getting your call returned. First, state your name; second, slowly provide your phone number; third, state your reason for calling; fourth, slowly leave your phone number again. These steps will increase the probability of your phone call being returned because you didn’t ramble and you were to the point of what you want. Your voicemail has been perceived as thoughtful and important.
Of the 10 people you called, schedule face-to-face meetings with two of them. Take them to breakfast, lunch or drinks. Thank them for doing business with you. During the meeting, “listen with your eyes,” so your clients and prospects know how important they are to you.
Do this 10 times this week and 10 times next week. You will notice a difference in the positive results you achieve. You will also get more business. Email me and let me know how successful you are: [email protected].
Are you listening with your eyes? Deborah Varallo