four people around a coffee table listening and building their business relationships

Build Your Business Relationships With This 1 Skill

There’s one key skill that can benefit your business and business relationships. And that one skill is LISTENING.

One of The Networkers values is We give you a voice. On one side of this is that we give you a space to express yourself and pitch your business. But, on the other side is that we, and our members, actually listen to you. 

How do you listen effectively?

Effective listening can be accomplished through what is known as Active Listening. It’s where you give your full attention to the speaker for the sole purpose of understanding them. Not just listening so that you can reply.

There are 6 steps to active listening:

  1. Have an open mind – listen without judgement and try to understand from their point of view.
  2. Let them finish- allow the speaker to finish before you jump in, just a few seconds is enough.
  3. Show that they have your attention – use your body language with eye contact, laughter, facial movements like smiling of frowning where appropriate.
  4. Check your understanding – paraphrase what they have said to make sure you understand.
  5. Ask questions – if you don’t understand something ask clarifying questions.
  6. Summarise – this shows you have heard and understand what they’ve said.
  7. Share – if appropriate now is a great time to share your view. This could be similar situations that you’ve experiences, your own feelings or opinion, or your expertise on the matter.

So, how can listening build your business relationships?

Learn new things

Being an effective listener helps you to take useful information from the conversations that you’re having, and apply it to your business. You’ll find that you won’t just learn from the 15 minute presentations at the meetings, but also from conversations from the time spent around tables and in one on one meetings with other members. We learn things from our members every single day!

Generate trust

Both listening and feeling listened to builds trust. By listening and paying attention to what the other person is saying helps you understand them, their business, and their wants and needs. When you are engaged with what they are saying it shows that you’re interested in supporting them and their business. 

Build positive business relationships

Active listening and building trust with others are the stepping stones to building positive business relationships. It shows that you’re genuinely interested in them and their business, not just what you can get out of the business relationship. This can help when you’re focussing on building synergies, creating a referral network, with your clients, and just in general conversation. 

Reduce mistakes and conflict

When you listen and make the effort to understand others, you significantly reduce the likelihood of mistakes and confusion down the line. If someone is talking to you about a problem they’re having, asking you to do something, or buying your product and/or service, it is vital that you listen. Being distracted, making assumptions, having expectations, and being biased toward them, won’t help the situation and can lead to mistakes, conflict, and costly do-overs. Listening to understand and then working with them to find a solution will leave them feeling positive about the interaction.

Increase productivity

Listening can also make you more productive in your business. Making the effort to understand what people, whether they be your clients or in general conversation, are saying makes working towards the end result a much smoother process. You’ll know what your clients want so you can focus on achieving that and you can have productive conversations that don’t result in repetition and irritation, but rather understanding and compassion. 

Listening is an incredibly important, but often overlooked, aspect of communication. It is an essential part of fostering positive relationships with clients, team members, business partners, and suppliers. Great listening skills can benefit your business by increasing your productivity, reducing costly errors, and aiding in creating meaningful business relationships.

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