Hey y’all, Brent Perry with Business on Purpose.
Are you listening? Not in the literal sense as listening to me right now, in this very moment. Are you listening in regards to your business? It can be an easy response to say, yes of course I am. But do me a favor, take a moment…are you really listening? Do you listen to your clients/customers? Do you listen to your employees? Do you listen to your counterparts if you have them? Do you listen to your coach?
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I love this quote from Justin Bell written for Forbes,
“As leaders, every action we take either develops or deteriorates trust. One of the most powerful ways to build trust is through listening”.
Let me take you back to Brent Perry and third grade. Knoxville, TN. My teacher stood in front of the class and handed out a worksheet to us, turned face down. He said before we turned the worksheet over we had to listen to his instructions. His instructions went something like this…
- First one who hands the assignment in correctly, gets pizza today for lunch…a big deal in third grade.
- Make sure to read all the questions 1-20 thoroughly before you begin the worksheet.
- Print your name and date and the top of the paper.
- You must fill the worksheet out in pencil.
- You must answer the odd-numbered questions in cursive.
- When you are finished turn the worksheet back over and raise your hand for me to collect.
Now I don’t know if you know where I am going with this, but as soon as he said start, the whole class (myself included) flipped that paper over and went to work as fast as we could write. For the next 30 minutes, we worked diligently until we got to the last and final “question”…which read, disregard all questions, and simply write your name in all caps on the back of the worksheet. Done.
That’s all it took. And nobody in the class filled out the worksheet correctly.
Now don’t get me wrong, my teacher knew what he was doing. He was teaching us a lesson, but he also just wanted a free 30 minutes to himself without being bugged by third graders. But his lesson worked, it has stuck with me all these years later. If we would have just listened to him and not raced to be the first one done, we could have celebrated a win.
So, the question on the table for the day is, how well are you listening?
Let me offer you 3 easy ways to improve the ways you are listening in your business…
1. Make sure you set time each week for your employees.
You might start with 1. This is outside of a team meeting. But carve out 10-15 minutes to follow up with someone in your business to have a small conversation about how things are going.
2. Practice becoming a better Active Listener
This might take more practice for some of you all. But I promise this is a skill that will benefit you as a leader.
Eye contact; focusing on the other person
Leaning forward a little or nodding
Letting the other person finish what he or she is saying without interruption
Interested silence; giving a person time to respond
3. Is a goal, learn something new from everyone you are listening to.
It might not happen every time, but when you enter a conversation with that mindset, you are already bringing value to that conversation.
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Thanks for listening.
Brent Perry is a business coach located in Tennessee specializing in liberating business owners from chaos. He is a weekly contributor to The Business on Purpose podcast and can be found at mybusinessonpurpose.com