Emma Nicol, our COO on the importance of listening without prejudice and why we launched our industry-first platform: The Voice of the Client.
When someone new joins your organisation, what do you teach them as part of their induction? Fire safety rules or how to lift a box? At AmazeRealise, we’re proud that every new starter is given training in listening.
‘Listen and share’ is one of our core values and we believe it’s an underrated communications skill crucial for creating an agency that truly understands its clients.
There has always been a big emphasis on our written and verbal skills. But the fact is, when we communicate, 10% of our time is spent writing, 30% speaking, and 45% listening. Opening our ears wider should be a crucial part of personal development.
When it comes to clients, the best relationships are the ones where we can share our views openly and everyone feels they are being listened to respectfully. It makes for relationships that last.
It’s not unusual for a client to voice frustration at their agency’s inability to understand their business problem. This is often simply due to poor listening. There’s a temptation to step into the limelight and spend 45 minutes of a precious hour long meeting talking about ourselves.
This is why AmazeRealise launched an industry-first platform called The Voice of the Client. We ask our clients to join us for an interactive session, attended by senior members of staff, where we listen to their needs, challenges, likes and dislikes.
Because, when you listen well you build deep understanding and empathy, along with strong, honest relationships. It allows us to adapt our position based on what we’re hearing and not stick to our own path even when the conversation has changed.
We have to be prepared to hear things that make us uncomfortable. It can be tempting to ‘pick and mix’, taking the bits from clients that suit us best and conveniently missing those that don’t support our position. This inevitably comes back to bite us down the line.
The worst types of listener
Recognise any of these people in your workplace? They might seem to be listening to you but the lights are on and nobody’s home.
- The pretender: looks like they’re listening but they’re not.
- Whiteboard hogger: Simply wants to be centre of attention.
- Negative ninny: Asks lots of questions, but only to find faults in what you’re saying.
- Yapper: Just keeps talking. Never listens.
- The expert: Knows it all already, you’ve got nothing to teach them.
- Ostrich: The conversation’s changed but they don’t want to know about it.
- False nodder: Seem to agree with what you’re saying but sticks with their own agenda.
- Mr Selective: Picks the bits they like and ignores the rest.
We all have some degree of unconscious bias and we’re often primed to be negative when we meet someone. Maybe it’s due to the last conversation we had with them or stuff we’ve heard said about them.
Stereotypes can also mean we pay more or less attention when a younger client speaks. Or a female client. Does an accent affect your expectations?
To become a great listener takes skill and endeavour and it comes more naturally to some than others. We believe it’s a skill everyone should work on and that’s why we start from day one.
At AmazeRealise, we’re trying very hard to listen and we’d be very happy to listen to you and the challenges you face. Get in touch below and let’s have a real conversation.