Do You Know How to Listen?

The 10 Commandments of Powerful Listening

 

 

Rules for being a good listener involve courtesy and common sense. Some rules may seem obvious, or trivial, but it is amazing how many people forget them. Often, you don’t mean to be rude, but your enthusiasm for a subject and your own desire to hear yourself talk make you forget courtesy. At other times, you are so intent with expressing your own viewpoint that you forget to listen to what the other person is saying. You just plain stop listening!

 

Here are some rules for good listening:

 

1. Fight off distractions. Train yourself to listen carefully to your prospect’s words despite such external distractions as a ringing telephone, passersby, or outside noises. Focus on words, ideas, feelings, and the underlying intent of your prospects.

 

2. Do not trust your memory. Take notes. However, keep your notes brief, because listening ability is impaired while you are writing. All you need to write down is something to jog your memory later so that you can recall the complete content of the message.

 

3. Let your prospects tell their own stories first. When prospects explain their situations, they may reveal interesting facts and valuable clues that will aid you in helping them to solve their problems and satisfy their needs. Then, you can tailor your discussion to their particular needs, goals, and objectives. You can thus dispense with those aspects of your presentation that may have been inappropriate to that specific prospect.

 

4. Use feedback. Constantly try to check your understanding of what you hear. Do not hear only what you want to hear. In addition, consistently check to see if your prospect wants to comment or respond to what you have previously said.

 

5. Listen selectively. Very often in conversation, your prospects will tell you specific things that will help you identify their problems. These critical messages may be hidden within the much broader context of the conversation. You must listen in such a way that you can separate the wheat from the chaff.

 

6. Relax. When your prospect is speaking to you, try to put this individual at ease by creating a relaxed and accepting environment. Don t give the impression you want to jump right in and speak.

 

7. Listen attentively. Face your prospects straight on, with uncrossed arms and legs, and lean slightly forward. Establish good eye contact. Nod affirmatively and use appropriate facial expressions when called for, but don’t overdo it.

 

8. Create a positive listening envıronment. Try to ensure an atmosphere of privacy away from sources of distraction. Do not violate your prospect’s “personal space.” Take great effort to make sure that the environment is conducive to effective listening.

 

9. Ask questions. Ask open‑ended questions to allow your prospects to express their feelings and thoughts. The effective use of questions shows your prospects that you are interested and that you are listening, and it allows you to contribute to the conversation.

 

10. Be motivated to listen. Without the proper attitude, all the foregoing suggestions for effective listening are for naught. Try to keep in mind that there is no such thing as an uninteresting speaker—there are only uninterested listeners.

 

These are the 10 commandments of powerful listening. If you are really willing to learn how to listen it will take a lot of hard work to learn the skills, and constant practice to stay in shape. Remember that prospects feel relieved when they find salespeople who understand what they have to say about their problems. Once you truly understand your prospects by actively listening to them, they will most likely reciprocate by listening to you and trying to understand your viewpoint. Isn’t this what selling is all about?

 

 

This article was adapted from Tony Alessandra’s new six‑cassette audio alburn, The Dynamics of Effective Listening, available for $59. To place your order or receive information about Dr. Alessandra speaking to your group, call 1-800-222-4383.

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You have to make a speech-nervous?

Preparing for Success in Speaking

The success of your speaking is determined primarily by the time you spend preparing before you step in front of your audience.  A good presentation requires careful planning and lack of planning is always apparent.  Sure clues are speeches that are too long, too detailed, confusing, vague, boring or off-track.  You can spend less time producing short, powerful presentations if you systematically prepare beforehand.

 

The often overlooked first and most critical step in preparation is understanding the “what” and the “why” of your presentation: its purpose.  Your purpose should be the broad general outcome you want the presentation to achieve.  Here are three questions you can ask yourself to clarify the objective of your presentation:

o  Why am I giving this presentation?

o  What do I want the audience to know or do at the end of the presentation?

o  How do I want the audience to feel?

It often helps us prepare for a presentation when we understand the different types of presentations.  Here are four basic types that differ primarily in the amount of detail presented and the level of persuasiveness required to meet the objective of the presentation:

 

            Sales —  Use the sales presentation to sell an idea or suggestion to clients, upper management, co-workers, or employees.  You may also use the sales presentation to persuade an audience to take a particular action or adopt a belief.  This type of presentation uses a lot of persuasive skills and seldom requires extensive detail.

            Explanatory — The explanatory presentation is best used to familiarize, give an overall perspective, or identify new developments.  It should rarely involve heavy detail, but should offer the audience new or renewed information and understanding.  It does not require extensive persuasive efforts.

            Instructional —  When you want to teach others how to use something, such as a new procedure or a piece of hardware, use the instructional presentation.  There is usually more audience participation and involvement with this presentation format.  It generally involves extensive detail.  This is a persuasive presentation because you are convincing your audience to use a new technique or to adopt a new method of doing something.

 

            Oral report— oral reports bring the audience up to date on something with which they are already familiar.  These generally focus on facts, figures and other details and involve little persuasive efforts.

Relax and try to enjoy it!

 

 

Know Your Audience

 

After you have a statement of purpose and understand the type of presentation you will be giving, you must consider the particular audience you have in mind and how to mold your presentation to fit the specific characteristics of that audience.  The more time you devote to analyzing your audience beforehand, the less you will have to do “on the spot.”

 

Here are some ways you can acquire information in advance regarding your audience:

 

o  Ask the presentation host for information about the audience.  Find out general demographics such as age, sex, professional level, specific interests and needs.  Also ask what the group has responded well to in the past.  What presentation styles were well received?

 

            o  Talk to members of the audience.  If possible, arrive early enough to survey one or more members of the audience to find out what they expect and what they would like to hear.

 

            o  Talk to other speakers.  If you know other speakers who have spoken to the same group, ask them what worked and what they would do differently with the group.

 

Here are some questions you should always ask yourself to help you to analyze the needs of each particular audience you will address.

 

-Why should they listen to you?

-How does what you say affect them?

-What’s in it for them to listen to you?

-Why is it important for the audience to hear what you have to say?

 

ADAPTABILITY-Can You Connect With Others?

Connecting with People

 

How well you speak the other person’s language?  How well you get on that person’s wavelength?  There are some people, as professional as they are, as knowledgeable as they are, as helpful as they are, that simply just rub you the wrong way.  They’re just not your kind of people.

All of us are different, yet all of us are the same.

 

I remember when I moved from New York City to San Diego, I found a whole different world. I treated people in San Diego according to The Golden Rule – I treated them as I wanted to be treated – as a New Yorker wanted to be treated. I found out that the way people did business in San Diego wasn’t the way people did business in New York City. And even though I was doing things competently with knowledge and with ethics, it was my approach that turned people off. It wasn’t what I was asking them to do that prompted them to “dig in their heels.” It was how I was asking them.  I just came on too strong.  It wasn’t too strong in New York; it was too strong in San Diego.  Too fast-paced.  Just a whole different approach.  I had to get on their wavelength.

 

We all listen-make what you have to say worthy of that effort.

So, it’s important that you learn to vary your presentation, to vary your pace, to vary your language based on the type of people you’re speaking to.  I mean, if you’re calling on somebody who is a bottom-line, time-disciplined, fact-oriented, busy, results-oriented individual, are you going to go in, spend ten or fifteen minutes “chit-chatting” or socializing trying to get to know that person?  Obviously not!  If you’re calling on somebody who’s a very friendly, outgoing person who likes to talk about sports and likes to talk about family and likes to talk about just various things about business and wants to get to know somebody first and you walk in and bottom-line everything with little or no social talk, do you think that might irritate that person?  Definitely!  So, you have to size people up and get on their wavelength to create chemistry so that person will say, “Hey, you’re the type of person I want to do deal with on a long-term basis.”

 

This whole approach is called ‘adaptability” – your ability to change your approach, to change your strategy, depending on the situation or the person you’re dealing with. That’s how you really connect with people quicker, deeper and longer.

 

Assessments-Why Use Them?

              Why Use Assessments?

We have a crisis brewing in the business world today. We live in a 24/7/365 work world where information moves at lightning speed, and companies want people to work better, faster, smarter. Technology rules, sometimes at the expense of people.

In this high-tech world, people will not feel displaced if they work where they feel comfortable: recognized for their contribution, appreciated for their uniqueness, understood by their peers and listened to by their bosses. They value opportunities for growth and chances to learn from others.

Indeed, surveys across industries have shown that comfort and communication are more important factors to the employee’s perception of well-being than the traditional enticements of compensation, benefits, and other perks.

In a Monster.com world, it has become hugely challenging to find and keep qualified and talented people. The emergence of Web-based job search resources have helped to create a fluid workforce able to constantly search for that next perfect job. According to the International Management Association, average churn rates have jumped by more than 14 percent in the last decade.

When employees experience low levels of comfort and communication, they become frustrated and this usually leads to reduced productivity and a loss of high performers. So how do employers combat this counter productive trend?

Employers can combat this trend by growing their employees’ intellectual wealth. A good way to grow intellectual wealth is with good employee assessment resources. Therefore, employee assessment is a vital tool in the challenge facing today’s businesses to grow intellectual wealth. Assessments can measure a variety of criteria: intellectual ability, achievement motivation, skill proficiency, work styles, personality characteristics, and personal values are among them. Assessments are used to help determine training needs, career counseling and life enrichment.

Assessments are a first step towards personal awareness. We provide those assessments that give employees an opportunity to learn something about themselves, with the goals of self improvement, personality enrichment and enhancement of their relationships with others in mind.

We offer assessment tools where there are no right or wrong answers. Employees participate freely in our assessments because they know they will not pass or fail, just become more intellectually wealthy. A good assessment is a tool designed to increase employees’ awareness of their behavioral tendencies related to how they interact with others. Our assessment systems come with support materials and action plans to help employees implement new strategies and behaviors. Whether their individual career tracks are blue collar/vocational, front line customer service, face-to-face sales, technical/professional services, supervision/management or executive staff/boardroom, it is important for employees to have the skills to demonstrate those attitudes and behaviors that enable them to get along with others. To get along, they must better understand themselves and others to communicate with others effectively.

Here are some ways organizations use assessments:

  • Training & Development – training and learning programs can be individualized to each employee rather than using a “one size fits all” training curriculum.
  • Management Decision Making – good decisions are usually made when managers have good information upon which to base those decisions. Assessments can provide appropriate information for coaching, training and communicating with employees.


Employers who use our assessments recognize that they are powerful resources; and when used as part of a training and development program, they enhance employees’ skills related to communicating effectively. The benefits from using assessments can be profound:

  • Higher employee morale
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced employee turnover
  • Reduced training costs
  • Increasing employees’ sense of well-being
  • Increasing the bottom line due to better employee service to customers
  • More effective team building and compatibility

For more information about how you can use our assessments in your company, please contact us at: TA@Alessandra.com or call us at +1-760-872-1500

THE PLATINUM RULE-WHAT IS IT AND HOW DOES IT APPLY TO YOU?

The Platinum Rule

We have all heard of the Golden Rule-and many people aspire to live by it. The Golden Rule is not a panacea. Think about it: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Golden Rule implies the basic assumption that other people would like to be treated the way that you would like to be treated. The alternative to the Golden Rule is the Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” Ah hah! What a difference. The Platinum Rule accommodates the feelings of others. The focus of relationships shifts from “this is what I want, so I’ll give everyone the same thing” to “let me first understand what they want and then I’ll give it to them.”

A Modern Model for Chemistry

The goal of The Platinum Rule is personal chemistry and productive relationships. You do not have to change your personality. You do not have to roll over and submit to others. You simply have to understand what drives people and recognize your options for dealing with them. The Platinum Rule divides behavioral preferences into four basic styles: The Director, Socializer, Relater, and Thinker. Everyone possesses the qualities of each style to various degrees and everyone has a dominant style. For the sake of simplicity, this article will focus only on dominant styles.

Directors

Directors are driven by two governing needs: to control and achieve. Directors are goal-oriented go-getters who are most comfortable when they are in charge of people and situations. They want to accomplish many things-now-so they focus on no- nonsense approaches to bottom-line results. Directors seek expedience and are not afraid to bend the rules. They figure it is easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission. Directors accept challenges, take authority, and plunge headfirst into solving problems. They are fast-paced, task-oriented, and work quickly and impressively by themselves, which means they become annoyed with delays. Directors are driven and dominating, which can make them stubborn, impatient, and insensitive to others. Directors are so focused that they forget to take the time to smell the roses.

Socializers

The Socializer’s primary strengths are enthusiasm, charm, persuasiveness, and warmth. They are friendly and enthusiastic and like to be where the action is. They thrive on the admiration, acknowledgment, and compliments. They are idea-people who excel at getting others excited about their vision. They are eternal optimists with an abundance of charisma; qualities that help them influence people and build alliances to accomplish their goals. Socializers care less about winning or losing than how they look while playing the game. As wonderful as Socializers may sound, they do have their weaknesses: impatience, an aversion to being alone, and a short attention span—they become bored easily. Socializers are risk-takers who base many of their decisions on intuition, which is not inherently bad. When given only a little data, however, Socializers tend to make sweeping generalizations. Some of them are, therefore, exaggerators. Socializers are not inclined to do their homework or check out information. They are more likely to assume someone else will do it.
Thinkers

Thinkers are analytical, persistent, systematic people who enjoy problem solving. Thinkers are detail-oriented, which makes them more concerned with content than style. Thinkers are task- oriented people who enjoy perfecting processes and working toward tangible results. They’re always in control of their emotions and may become uncomfortable around people who very out-going, e.g., Socializers. Thinkers have high expectations of themselves and others, which can make them over-critical. Their tendency toward perfectionism–taken to an extreme–can cause “paralysis by over- analysis.” Thinkers are slow and deliberate decision-makers. They do research, make comparisons, determine risks, calculate margins of error, and then take action. Thinkers become irritated by surprises and glitches, hence their cautious decision-making. Thinkers are also skeptical, so they like to see promises in writing.

Relaters

Relaters are warm and nurturing individuals. They are the most people-oriented of the four styles. Relaters are excellent listeners, devoted friends, and loyal employees. Their relaxed disposition makes them approachable and warm. They develop strong networks of people who are willing to be mutually supportive and reliable. Relaters are excellent team players. Relaters are risk-averse. In fact, Relaters may tolerate unpleasant environments rather than risk change. They like the status quo and become distressed when disruptions are severe. When faced with change, they think it through, plan, and accept it into their world. Relaters–more than the other types–strive to maintain personal composure, stability, and balance. In the office, Relaters are courteous, friendly, and willing to share responsibilities. They are good planners, persistent workers, and good with follow-through. Relaters go along with other seven when they do not agree because they do not want to rock the boat. Relaters are slow decision-makers for several reasons: 1) their need for security; 2) their need to avoid risk; 3) their desire to include others in the decision-making process.

The Platinum Rule provides powerful life-skills that will serve you well in all your relationships: business, friends, family, spouse, and children.

Find out how The Platinum Rule can work for you!

 

Assessment Business Center Starts a Forum-Understanding People is the Key!

    A Forum is Now Ready for YOU

Tony posts on this blog site about many different subjects and now he wants to hear from you! He has now created a new forum where you can go to get the help you need for your business!

Go to www.assessmentforum.com and sign up to become a member. There are a variety of groups to join and you can ask the administrator to create a new one, if you have a new subject you would like discussed.

You can share you ideas, ask questions of Tony you always wanted to ask, get tips on what to do with your business concerns and through all this, you will gain a valuable understanding of people which will certainly aid in your future success!

Talking = Understanding = More Success for You!

Tony is ready to help you assess your business, your future and your current path to achieve your dreams. We will be waiting for you at the Forum!

See you at the Forum!

 

Do You Have Street Smarts?

 

THE ELEMENTS OF STREET SMARTS

 

I. Heightened Awareness

  1. Trust your intuition
  2. Develop perceptiveness and ability to anticipate
  3. Size up people quickly and accurately
  4. See the big picture

II. CONFIDENCE

  1. Fake it till you make it
  2. Use chutzpa when necessary
  3. Believe in yourself-Be confident

III. HEALTHY SKEPTICISM

  1. Don’t believe everything you see and hear
  2. Be hard to take advantage of
  3. Use your “mental categories” and generalizations to keep you on guard
  4. Give people the time and rope to either hang themselves or prove their integrity/sincerity

IV. RESOURCEFULNESS

  1. Think quickly on your feet
  2. Be persistent
  3. Be prepared
  4. Be flexible
  5. Change your surroundings or adapt
  6. Surround yourself with experts & contacts

V. RISK-TAKING

  1. Be willing to take risks
  2. Minimize the possible down side
  3. Cut your losses and get out if you’re wrong
  4. Learn by your mistakes Use your STREET SMARTS and you will be a winner in whatever path you take! Please comment in this blog on how you feel STREET SMARTS have helped you in your life!