shutupLike so many people around my area, I have been hit hard with a virus…I’m on Day 9 of the congestion, coughing, and sore throat. What I’ve noticed over these days as I have struggled to keep up my daily pace, is that there was a blessing in the several days of laryngitis last week: my ears were opened.

Even though I know that listening is arguably more important than speaking, I struggle to keep my mouth shut long enough to listen well. I interrupt, explain too many details, and make it about me far too often.

For two days I couldn’t carry on in my conversations as usual…besides sounding like a pained croaking frog, it hurt to talk. It really hurt. So I listened… and rediscovered some very important communication lessons.

  • Others will talk if you let them. The less I talked, the more information they shared which allowed us to get to the root of the problem, opportunity, want, need, emotional aspects, and fears.
  • Urgency, fears, and benefits desired are often communicated without words. These important non-verbals can be learned through communication subtleties such as hesitations, tone, and volume.
  • People behave differently in group settings/conversations. If you need to find out what is really going on with someone’s behavior (decisions, activities, etc.) you may need to get them alone. Group dynamics can remove the safety net and some people will not openly share the information needed to move a sale along.

What I found most interesting is that by listening better during conversations and email follow-ups, I secured several good decisions last week. We closed out February very nicely.

While I don’t want this virus to last longer or repeat any time soon, keeping my mouth shut and ears open is something I will repeat over and over again.