I talked about how listening on purpose is a respectful way to connect with clients while reducing your stress and workload. Now, let’s talk about listening as a strategy for creating a circle of like-minded colleagues who adore you.
I shouldn’t call it a strategy. That makes it sound all dry and business-like. Ewww. Listening well is a gift that I give to those around me that comes back to me.
It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world
I don’t know if it’s technology or our entrepreneurial lifestyles, but none of us get too much love anymore, to quote the Bee Gees. According to studies in the last decade, we are lonelier as individuals. We have fewer closer friends to share our lives with and seek comfort and guidance from. We don’t live near our families of origin. I think it’s common today in business to feel like no one really knows you or cares.
That’s especially true for self-employed folks. Running a business is hectic and isolating. We’re kinda starved for connection because we have to be ‘business-like and professional’ yet our brains are hard-wired for belonging. Give your business and yourself a boost by connecting with your colleagues using the most underrated business tool there is, listening?
I connect with other entrepreneurs by listening on purpose. I listen during conversations to hear whether they want my support or my problem-solving skills, and sometimes I just ask. I listen beyond that, into the silences and pauses, to hear the inner story of hidden interests or secret regrets to see where I can assist or share resources. I get curious about what’s true for them and share what’s true for me. Such a gift. We’re both uplifted by the conversation.
Listening is like knitting.
You already have everything you need to be a great listener. Two ears, one mouth, a lovely brain and an open heart!
Like knitting, being a great listener looks more complicated and time-consuming than it actually is. And, just like knitting, it’s fun when you get the hang of it. I’ve had some marvelous conversations about topics I wouldn’t have dreamed of because I was open to hearing a different perspective.
You’ve been doing listening for years. It’s probably a good time to brush up on the basic skills of question-asking, listening, dealing with disagreement, which I share in my e-course on difficult clients. I know, improving your communication skills is not on the top of your ‘must do’ list, however, once you experience the benefits- better clients, less stress, more fun- you’ll be hooked on how much happier life is. That’s what happened to me. Growing my emotional intelligence, I call it emotional smarts, allows me to be both powerful and generous and people noticed.
Connect to thrive.
Connection is where so many good things for your business and you live. Trust. Understanding. Compassion. Creativity. Loyalty. Sales. Referrals. New opportunities.
Sure, it can be scary to open yourself up to colleagues in this way. That’s why at the same time you’re building your emotional smarts and listening muscles, you also want to be setting expectations in your business for your new circle and yourself. And, when I say set expectations, I really mean make rules. Fences make for good client relationships
You know how I say, ‘Be Heard & Prosper’? I kinda like Connect to Thrive, too. I see Tee shirts? What do you think?