In coaching school they basically teach you how to listen. Sometimes I think it’s comical that I spent over $4000.00 and a whole year to become an accredited coach basically learning how to listen!
It has got to be one of the toughest skills you’ll ever attempt to perfect because we as human beings tend to be sort of self centered. We’ll be quiet while the other person takes their turn to talk, but we’re basically just waiting until it’s our turn to talk again (because what we have to say is infinitely more interesting than what the other person is saying). So even though we may be quietly nodding, we’re not really hearing what the other person is saying. We’re figuring out what we’re going to say once it’s our turn again. And yet, if you can truly master the art of listening, your life and business will change.
Real listening requires that you understand (even for just a little while), that IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! You have to get outside of your own agenda and make it about someone else. Forget about your own life and what matters to you for a while the next time you’re in a conversation and make it your goal to learn as much as you can about the other person and their viewpoint.
One of the best ways to do that is to become curious. Start asking questions. We call them powerful or open ended questions in coaching. Whether you’re visiting with a host during a host coaching appointment, connecting with guests at the beginning of your parties, or coaching the representatives on your team, asking powerful questions will completely change your results. A powerful question is one that’s open ended and allows the person being asked to imagine and expand their answer. Using a question like “How would your life change if you decided to join my team?” is much more powerful than “Would you like to learn more about my opportunity?” (And just FYI, if a question can be answered with a yes or no, it’s not open ended).
Get it? So start listening to yourself. Are you mostly talking about yourself or asking questions about other people? And when you are asking questions, are they powerful and open ended, leading the person you’re asking into greater possibility, or closed ended, yes or no questions? Believe me, the more you make it about them and forget about yourself, the more effective you’ll be as a communicator.
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Julie Anne Jones is a direct sales corporate consultant, coach, and trainer, and the CEO of Julie Anne Jones, Inc. She is known for her authentic and easy-to-use scripting and specializes in specific systems, language, and tools for success in direct sales. To learn more about Julie Anne and her products and services, and to read her weekly blog posts, visit her at www.julieannejones.com.