By Stacy Zemon, Publisher & Chief Scribe
Every DJ business person wants to convert their prospects into clients, right? The solution to the challenge of connecting with prospects may be as simple as taking the time to improve your active listening skills. Active listening is all about building rapport, understanding and trust.
Your “likability” factor is largely determined by your ability to effectively listen to prospects and successfully respond to their needs, requests and concerns. But you don’t have to be born with the gift of gab to become an expert communicator. Here are five tips to help you become a better listener and actually hear what others are saying, not just what you think they are saying or what you want to hear.
1. Show a real interest. Practice empathetic listening. Put yourself in a prospects shoes and try to see the situation through her or his eyes. Ask questions and encourage her or him to elaborate. Even if you haven’t experienced the same situation, try sharing a personal story about a time when you felt similarly.
2. Use the magic words: “Tell me.” Most people will cherish the opportunity to share their stories and experiences. Ask open-ended questions and then listen. When you choose a topic of conversation that demonstrates interest in the other person, the discussion will flow more smoothly.
3. Say the other person’s name. Dale Carnegie once said, “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.” When you meet someone for the first time, say the person’s name immediately. Respond with something like, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ann.” Then use their name a couple of times throughout your conversation. When the conversation ends, say their name one last time: “I really enjoyed meeting you, Ann.”
4. Talk less; listen more. When someone speaks to you, listen with your whole body. Nod, make eye contact, and be fully engaged in what they have to say. Attentive listening will build trust and help you establish a professional relationship. When given the opportunity, ask pertinent questions, which will help demonstrate your sincere interest. If you don’t understand, ask for specifics. You could ask a clarifying question such as, “If I hear you correctly, you’re saying…Is that right?” It’s best to confirm your assumptions rather than risk a miscommunication.
5. Don’t interrupt or change the subject. If you jump in and interrupt someone’s sentence, you prevent him or her from fully expressing his or her thoughts. Though your intentions may be good, the other person may perceive you to be a know-it-all or in a rush. Or worse, the person may think you are trying to put words in his or her mouth. Always permit the other person enough time to finish their thought before you respond. Your patience and thoughtfulness will be appreciated.