CHAPTER 4Listening Skills


We sometimes are asked to provide consulting insights to firms wanting to improve their communication effectiveness. Many times our recommendation to members of the firm’s planning staff boils down to this:

We stress the importance of listening because few people actually practice this skill. Nearly all financial planners, if asked, say they are a good listener. For most financial planners (and people in general), however, this is not true. Being a good listener requires a substantial amount of conscious effort and practice. Although often not very effectively, listening is something we all do to some extent in our everyday conversations. This leaves many financial planners taking this particular communication skill for granted.

As it turns out, people often think they are listening when in fact they are really constructing a thought or response based on their own opinion or need to be heard. They should, however, be focused on what the other person is saying. This is where the effort to stay engaged with the other person and to practice “listening” comes into play. If you are an aspiring financial planner, our recommendation is to practice listening in all aspects of your life. Practice will help you become a good listener, and ...

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