CHAPTER 4 Become an active listener
To be a great communicator you must develop great listening skills. This was a lesson that did not come easily to me, as I can often talk a glass eye to sleep.
People regularly seek me out to speak at conferences, seminars or retreats. You might think I would respond to any such enquiry with a simple yes. After all, I’m a public speaker — it’s what I’m paid to do. Yet after 1500-plus successful engagements over more than two decades, I can honestly say I have never once broadcast that simple reply to an initial invitation.
I understand that 100 per cent of my success comes from my ability to connect instantly with the prospect. So I immediately ask three key questions: Why? What? and How? The answers to these three leading questions will allow me to make an informed decision on whether this is a conversation I should spend major or minor time on.
The words LISTEN and SILENT have the same letters.
Listen for the cues
As explained in chapter 2, it is important to ‘tune in’ before you broadcast. If you ask the right questions, you’ll know how to respond in a considered way based on the answers you receive. This helps you to engage in a higher quality of communication. It will come as no surprise to you that I follow a three-step process when actively listening in every conversation. This process involves the why, what and how questions:
‘Thank you for connecting. Can I ask why you have chosen/are considering me?’ How they answer this ...