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The Power of "Listening Slowly"

by | Apr 07, 2014

As a sales professional or service provider, you often meet with new clients and referral partners. But even if your questions are thorough, people may occasionally give vague or incomplete answers that, when left unexplored, could significantly impact both the advice and service you give them. 

In the book, Change-Friendly Leadership, management coach Rodger Dean Duncan suggests you try a technique called listening slowly, which Duncan learned directly from PBS NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer.

"He urged me to ask a good question," says Duncan, "listen attentively to the answer, and then count silently to five before asking another question. At first that suggestion seemed silly. I argued that five seconds would seem like an eternity to wait after someone responds to a question. Then it occurred to me: Of course it would seem like an eternity, because our natural tendency is to fill a void with sound, usually that of our own voice."

So, how can this technique help you in meetings? When people are left with a few moments of silence, you'll be amazed at how often and how quickly they will offer more information that can help you better serve them.

Of course, you don't want to pause for five seconds after every single question – strictly factual and yes-or-no questions are fine as they are. But when you're looking for a deeper-level answer, an opinion, or an expanded view into a person's thoughts or needs, then try incorporating the magic of listening slowly into your client meetings.

Please feel free to pass this tip along to your team, clients, and colleagues.

Source: Our friend, Dennis Kleinman's weekly newsletter - 

dennis.kleinman@fembi.com
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