Differentiate Yourself

Did you know that, on average, people spend approximately 45% of their communication time on listening? While we often think of communication as speaking or conveying our own thoughts, a significant portion of effective communication actually involves attentive listening. Whether it’s in personal conversations, professional meetings, or public settings, listening plays a crucial role in understanding others, building relationships, and exchanging information. This statistic highlights the importance of honing our listening skills to become better communicators and truly connect with those around us.

Countless studies highlight the importance of listening skills. As you ascend to higher levels of management and leadership in an organization, listening becomes even more important. It can lead to employee satisfaction, a reduction in misunderstandings, and empowerment. Take a hint from many of my colleagues who are HR professionals who identify active listening as the most critical leadership skill. 

Another Case in Point: I was working with an HR professional on leadership skills. Our engagement had come to an end sooner than I would have liked. Yet, I honored my client’s desire to end the coaching work we’d begun. Some weeks later, they circled back with a new problem and inquired about the cost of a spot coaching session.

Given that I offer coaching packages and prefer them over spot coaching engagements, I shared the going rate for such a one-off coaching hour. My fee was met with resistance and an unwillingness to move forward with the conversation. I suggested we discuss this further and was told the fee was not affordable. At first, I wanted to share the importance of negotiation which often gets in the way of reaching an amicable agreement. I wanted to bring this to their attention except, had I done so, I would not be honoring their wish not to pursue.

I was stuck between wanting to use the lack of negotiation as a leadership stumbling block and also wanting to honor the client’s wishes not to continue pursuing more coaching.

Lesson Learned: As a business person, we have to be forward-thinking enough to recognize this might happen in the future and step into these types of conversations with alternatives already in place. 

It’s time to Master Your Listening Skills.