Too often in our day, people on the “inside” at the office (boss, co-worker, manager) will think that what is most important to them is equally pressing to you. With vendors, strategic partners, media, clients, and prospects also vying for your attention from the outside, it is pretty easy to get caught up in who to answer first and which people you would like to give a piece of your mind…
It may be surprising to them to know that they aren’t at the top of the food chain in your world nor is their item of much personal concern to you. The important thing for you to keep in mind, however, is that some of these things are vital to making your firm look good.
Just like in a job interview, you only get one chance to make a first impression. As sad as that may be, it often does not take much from you to ensure that the impression is a good one. Listen carefully, make notes, and follow up when you say you will.
A good friend encouraged me to listen twice as often as I talk. If you know me, you’ll realize that was a difficult challenge to undertake… I have to say that active listening was a goal for the last year and I have found it to be incredibly informative.
When you focus on listening, you gain insight on what to do to keep your bosses happy, and often also learn what not to do if there is a crisis. Then when a problem arises you can use the tools you learned to lay out the issue clearly and simply in the manner that they will understand – as well as get you closer to a solution and further from the brunt of someone’s wrath.
No one wants to be polite all of the time, but being prepared is something we can all manage. By listening carefully to what people are telling us we can have a better experience working with them. I encourage you to open your ears and give active listening a try! I assure you it won’t hurt or cost anything other than time, but you will most assuredly have a better experience at the office!