Listening for Better Client Conversations

January 5th, 2021 · 2 min read

We all know how important communication is for every part of our lives. Of course it's as true for business as it is for family. Celeste Headlee, journalist, speaker, and author explains how to make conversations matter and raise your conversation IQ.

The following are a summary of her tips and tricks:

Cut back on multitasking and start to focus on one thing at a time. During a conversation, don't drift off to the to-do lists or the clock; stay engaged. Avoid social media during work hours so you can stay on track and minimize distractions.

Make sure you're talking and listening. Conversations should go both ways. Ask yourself what you can learn from the person you're speaking with. Allow the other person to lead the discussion and see where they take it. Remember, when you don't know what to talk about, you can start with the basics of who, what, when, where, and how. Ask open-ended questions and see what kind of responses you get.

Don't interrupt the moment the person you're talking to triggers an idea in your mind. Hold onto that idea until they are done speaking, and it is your turn to share. Learning to listen is an excellent skill to have. When it comes to communication, you can learn so much more by listening than talking.

It is always okay to say "I don't know" because it will earn the listener's trust more times than not. If you are discussing finances and trying to answer when you don't know, you're setting yourself up for failure.

When someone shares an accomplishment, make sure to congratulate them. Telling your client all about yourself doesn't allow them to feel heard or seen.

Try not to repeat yourself multiple times if it seems like the client doesn't hear you. Repeat it one time and then let it go. If you keep going on and on about the same topic, people tend to tune out.

Try to stay on point. There is nothing worse than a conversation that goes in circles, and no clear points get made. During meetings, stay focused. If you want to chat about life, take them out after hours. But stay on topic and be professional during planned meetings.

Keep in mind that good listening is half the secret to success. Listening is a skill that takes practice. It's an acquired skill. If you want to have a successful advisory practice, listening is an absolute must. Value your client's time. Don't assume your client will have a long attention span; assume the opposite. When you over talk and put too much information into one conversation, you lose people's attention. Just be mindful of your interactions. Practice listening, building deeper connections and being more efficient. Communication takes time and effort, but the payoff is successful client relations and revenue.