One of the most important skills to to learn, one of the most quality traits to have is “to be a good listener.” In business, if you want to win, if you want to make a difference, you must be a good listener.
Oftentimes, we feel like we have the be-all, end-all solution to solving a problem in society. The solution may actually work; however, most of the time, it’s not tailored for the greater community, for the community that you’re trying to serve (target audience). You may think of them when creating it, but it’s more so tailored for yourself. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to solve your problem and the problem of people who really correlate with the type of person that you are. But most of the time, you still miss the majority of your target market when the focus is on you rather than them.
If you listen more and pay attention to how they walk, how they talk, what they look at, the things they like, the things that they don’t like, how they react, and how they feel about certain things, you’ll be able to build a solution that not only solves your problem, but also solves their problem, as well. By doing that, you’re able to kill two birds with one stone: solve a problem and make a profit. This is critical in business, especially for anyone who’s trying to start a company. It’s all about differentiating yourself from the competition, and the best way to differentiate is to just give your core customers, your target market, exactly what they want or as close to it as possible.
Listening helps you formulate better solutions
If you are the best listener with enough resources (personally, I think you can do it with limited resources if you don’t accept “no” as an answer), you can become one of the top players in your industry. Depending on how you play it over the long run, you could become one of the dominant forces in your industry and it’s all done through listening.
For example, I was on a panel about a week or two ago and the question was asked to us: In the workplace, how do you ensure that you always have a place there and can potentially move up? There were four panelists including myself. I really wanted to try out this listening theory and knew this was the perfect opportunity – the same question, same audience, more so just different people answering the question. So, I told myself I’ll go last. I wanted to listen to everyone else and see their perspective. I had my own thoughts, but listening gave me the opportunity to have the most informed answer to give to the students. On top of that, I knew I could put my flare on it if I could package it right. So, I tried it out. I heard the constant themes of knowing yourself and also having a personal brand. I agreed with the other panelists, but I wouldn’t have had that perspective if I rushed to speak rather than listening. I just thought of the end-result of their answers, but not the buildup. Their answers made me think of a whole three-step philosophy to be a beast at work and in almost anything seriously you do:
This is knowing yourself and falling in love with the journey of becoming your best self rather than falling in love with the destination. It’s constantly a process.
Build a great personal brand
People recognize good work, but you want them to recognize your work when you’re not in the room. Building a brand is essential to rising up the ladder.
Give more than you expect to receive
Giving more [value] than you expect to receive enables you to be valuable to someone or something, but is just the right thing to do, as well. Thanks for this one, Gary Vee!
Let’s take it back to the aspect of listening. I was able to give an informed answer to the students in the crowd that day due to me paying attention to them and listening to the other panelists. Listening is the first step to creating value for others and for yourself. If you can give your core audience more value than you expect to receive, you will always be in business. You give yourself the opportunity to potentially rise up the ranks slowly but surely if you continue to listen. It is the value add that you can control. There is no barrier to becoming a better listener other than you yourself. In business, relationships, and life in general, listening is essential for growth. At its core, it allows you to not guess what’s important to your target audience, but to know. That’s powerful! Listening, knowledge, and the application of that knowledge through execution creates value. Be the best listener and you may become the best company. Are you ready to start listening more?