Does your business have a Chief Listening Officer? It’s unlikely there is anyone appointed to a full-time position focused on enhancing listening skills, but there are a number of reasons to consider creating a focus on listening within your business – especially within the sales team.
Listening is an overlooked skill and practice in many areas of our lives – including business education. We are taught to speak, present, persuade, and sell. Our leadership examples are focused on what bosses and superiors say, how they can frame goals to motivate others. The fact that most businesses are full of individuals more comfortable talking than listening is not anyone’s fault: it’s just the way we have been taught to lead and succeed in business.
Here are 5 reasons your business could use a Chief Listening Officer, or at least a focus on developing consistent listening skills and habits within the company:
- Reduce wasted time in the office.
How often do messages need to be repeated because the people who are supposed to be listening did not adequately tune in? Or, was the message delivered in a way and at a time that it was hard for people to listen to? An office with better listening skills can efficiently communicate within its own organization and reduce time spent repeating information in meetings and memos.
- Reduce conflict and stress.
Communication issues are often the cause of stress and conflict, from petty issues to more serious situations that impact the rest of the workplace. Listening skills allow individuals to take responsibility for understanding and respecting people when a disagreement arises. Employees, managers, and owners can resolve conflict faster, or avoid them altogether.
- Reduce costly mistakes.
Has poor listening cost a sale or ten? Or, has someone been hurt on the job? Or, has it cost wasting materials? Or, has a valued employee left the company because communication couldn’t be improved? The costs to bad listening can be enormous, whether it is listening within the company or the company listening to its stakeholders and customers.
- Increase morale and trust.
When an company can communicate well, it’s people develop trust and morale increases. Even in stressful, face-paced environments, when the team members are able to tune in and pay attention to each others’ ideas and challenges, people feel supported and encouraged. This leads to creativity and confidence.
- Increase productivity.
It’s no surprise that more efficient communication, reducing wasted time and money, and higher morale leads to more attention on dollar-productive activity. A sales team will increase conversions and maintain long-term customer relationships, a marketing team is better able to understand the market, and managers are able to empower their employees.
There are more reasons to develop listening skills and a company-wide listening culture, but those are some important ones.
Can your business afford a Chief Listening Officer?
It’s unlikely a business would want to hire a full-time CLO. Integrating a part-time responsibility to a training department or another employee is easily justifiable for many businesses, given the costs and opportunities that come from a business will employees able to consistently listen. But, without someone trained in teaching listening habits, it’s likely appointing someone to be CLO will not have a useful, long-term impact.
That is why I am passionate about offering listening training services to businesses and sales teams. I’m pleased to work with business teams to shift their company communication culture to listening, and as trainer I assume the role of their CLO while delivering a month-long online course and even in-house workshops on listening skills. The purpose of the coursework is to not only learn concepts and practice skills, but to integrate those habits into the working day with colleagues, clients, and prospects.
It would be a pleasure to speak you if you are interested! Here is a simple tool to schedule a conversation with me to learn more and see if there is a fit with your company.