“All man’s life among men is nothing more than a battle for the ears of others.” – Milan Kundera
Listening is a skill that everyone should practice, especially in web presence marketing, because every client is different, and every brand unique.
However, it’s not a skill that we take too much time out of our schedule to practice. Most of us are able to hear, and interpret what’s being said, but over time we become so good at hearing that we no longer feel the need to listen.
Web presence marketing is all about multitasking. Perhaps you listen to a webinar while you’re checking analytics for your clients, or preparing for a client meeting, and posting something relevant to your Twitter feed all at the same time.
It seems that there’s never enough time to practice perceptive listening skills when you have so many things to juggle!
The truth is that you can always find time to learn and develop your skills as a perceptive listener, and you should if you want to have longevity in web presence marketing.
What does perceptive listening entail? People who teach perceptive listening skills say that there are many forms of listening, including the following:
Passive listening – the kind we do when we are listening to a conversation but scrolling our Twitter feed and checking our Facebook account.
Selective listening – the kind you practice when you are in conversation with someone, but thinking about what you’re going to say the moment they stop talking.
Active listening – the kind where while in conversation with someone, you react only to the words being said.
Perceptive listening – the kind where you hear and interpret the words, but you also consider what the person is thinking and perhaps how they are acting as they say the words.
Perceptive listening takes a lot of practice. No one is born with this skill. It requires you to be completely focused, mindful, in tune with what’s happening with the person that is sharing something verbally with you.
More than likely, the person talking will feel that you are listening perceptively. We all know what it feels like someone checks their text messages when you are in the middle of a conversation. Instantly, we feel unimportant and disposable. The opposite is true when you use perceptive listening. The person you are speaking with will feel important and validated. More than likely, this will allow them to open up and share, providing you with the information you need to help enhance their web presence.
Here’s an exercise you can do to practice perceptive listening with your clients:
Make a list of five clients you respect and would like to understand better. Ask them these three questions. Make sure that you give them your full attention and take note of body language:
- What’s the one thing you love about what you do?
- If you referred your company to a friend, what would you say?
- What’s the biggest challenge you have in your business right now?
Afterwards, evaluate whether you practiced perceptive listening, what you learned that was different and how it will help you provide better services for your client. Try doing this with your other “clients” as well, such as your staff and other vendors with which you work.