Be a good listener…

You may be wondering what listening has to do with successful entrepreneurship. The very term ownership implies responsibility. It is a position of authority and therefore demands you to give the directions that will shape your business’ future. You are the go-to guy or gal. People look up to you and hang on your very words. Not the other way around, right? Well, yes and no.

While much of the time this can be true it is also imperative that you take the time to listen as well as talk. And if you haven’t taken the time to listen you may be causing irreparable damage to your growth.

Listen to your employees Listen with an open ear to what your employees are saying. Are they happy and excited or just trying to make ends meet? Are they talking about what the business’ customers are involved in, how they feel about your company or what they’ve expressed they would like or need? Listen up. You may just learn some very important information.

Curb your ego It takes letting go of your human tendencies towards a run-away ego. Haughtiness can severely deprive you of valuable connections. You become insensitive and callus to others. You can become so egotistical that you miss the very thing you need to learn to grow your business.

At the head of ego is vanity. When you are fixed on yourself you can’t relate well with others. Curb your ego and vanity and you will discover new avenues of income and ideas that you never even considered before.

Listen attentively Rather than preparing your response while you only have a small part of the conversation, listen to the whole of what is being said. Then, take a moment to form your reply. This reflective thinking moment lets the person you are speaking with know that you are indeed carefully wedging your response and truly listening to all of what they are saying.

Relate to them on their level When you join them where they are they will better understand you and what you are trying to relate to them. For example, if you were speaking to a young child you would want to use easily understood, elementary level language. On the other hand, if your audience is a group of MDs or PhDs your vocabulary, examples, and such would be much more specific and educational.

Empathize Show you care by listening attentively and then begin your reply with words that tell them you understand their situation. This can be easily done by relating to them. Opening with a comment like, “While I have experienced similar issues I have found that … worked well for me to counter the issue you are experiencing.”

Be patient This may be the most difficult of all the ‘good listener’ attributes. Even I find myself guilty at times of impatience. How often do you find yourself trying to rush your spouse of friend by finishing their sentence for them? Stopping this habit will allow the other person to say something you may not have expected. Give them the time and space, not to mention the respect, to fully express their thoughts. You would want them to do the same, I am sure.

Listen with an ear to hear what they are ‘trying’ to say. Not only will you gather information that will help you identify and solve problems, but you may even come up with a new product or service that will fill a need your customers are expressing and desire to solve.

© Copyright 2012 Ginger Marks

Ginger Marks is the founder of the DocUmeant Family of Companies, We Make YOU Look GOOD! For more information, visit Her 2013 annual edition of Holiday Marketing Guide, Your business-marketing calendar of ideas is now available at


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