What does it mean to listen with the third ear?
Somebody shared with me the saga of a salesperson who was canvassing a middle-class neighborhood one day. She was hoping to talk to residents about a new product she was introducing. As she approached one home a young boy was sitting on the front step. She asked the boy if his mom was home, and the boy replied that she was. The lady rep knocked on the door but got no response. She knocked again, this time a bit longer and stronger, but again there was no response. She looked down at the kid sitting on the step and said, “I thought you said your mom was home.” The boy said, “She is, but this isn’t where I live.”
Another fellow I heard about came home one night to a dark house. After flipping on a couple of lights he finally saw a note on the refrigerator door that read, “This isn’t working. I can’t take it anymore. I’m leaving and going to my mother’s house.” He opened the doors and saw ice cubes in the top and found his beer was cold in the bottom. “I don’t get it. What the heck is the problem,” he said as he shrugged his shoulders, grabbed a cold one and closed the doors, heading for the remote.
Virtually every time I ask salespeople if they are good listeners, they say yes. However I assure you, after dealing with sales folks for over 45 years, I’ve stumbled on very few who really are. It takes both time and effort to break poor listening habits, but for those who do the rewards are significant.
One of the most common obstacles to good listening occurs when you start framing your next question in your mind or planning what you’ll say next, before they finish responding. When doing one or the other you miss what the prospect is saying in response to the prior question. My advice here is to stay focused on your prospect and mentally echo what they say, in real time.
Body language and other forms of non-verbal communication are actually more important than what is said. Therefore if you listen but don’t look, you miss part of the message. Eye contact also lets people know that you’re paying attention, so listen with your eyes as well as your ears.
Realizing how critical listening skills are; read the following questions, one at a time, and jot down the first answer that comes to your mind, without trying to analyze them. You should answer all 8 questions in about 30 seconds.
Ready… Set… Go.
- How many four-cent stamps are in a dozen?
- The average man has how many birthdays?
- Some months have 30 days; some have 31; how many months have 28?
- I have in my hand 2 coins that total 55 cents. One is not a nickel. What are the 2 coins?
- Is it legal if a man marries his widow’s sister?
- Do they have a 4th of July in England?
- How many of each animal species did Moses take on the Ark?
- If you had one match in a room where there was a kerosene lamp, an oil heater, and a candle; which would you light first?
Now check the answers below to see how you did and determine if you really are a good listener.
1.A dozen is twelve, regardless of what you are counting. 2. One, the day you were born. 3. All of them…some just have more. 4. A half-dollar and a nickel. 5. If she is a widow then he is a dead man and, therefore, probably couldn’t marry anybody. 6. Sure, every country’s calendar contains July 4th. 7. It was Noah. Moses was the Ten Commandments guy. 8. The match.
If you missed any it was probably not due to lack of academic knowledge, but rather poor listening skills. Start working on your improvement plan now!
————Something for Nothing————
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