Most financial advisors and wealth managers are masters of multitasking. It is a common phenomenon, though, that juggling with too many tasks can be distracting and stressful. It also hinders one’s ability to listen attentively.
So, how can financial advisors reclaim the lost art of listening in today’s information-centric age? Here are five crucial steps to follow:
Put aside all your filters. Don’t interrupt. More importantly, let the other person, be it your client or friend, finish what they have to say. Set aside your personal thoughts and don’t assume you know what they have to say.
Instead, listen attentively and patiently. Ask them questions if you don’t understand something. Take a sincere interest in what’s being said and practice active and reflective listening to make sure you not only listen, but that you understand.
Rather than focusing more on a person’s communication style, concentrate on the words they are using. Behavioral styles come between us and so often, we judge people on their distinctive style of speaking – the pace, tone and body language they use. Be aware of this. Look past someone’s style and focus on the meaning behind their words.
Pay full attention to the person who is speaking to you in person or on the phone. Maintain eye contact with them in person. Even if you know them well, pretend you don’t know anything about them and focus on learning all that you can by being mentally present. Cut out all distractions – no reading emails or text messages. Don’t be distracted by your own thoughts. Quite simply, don’t interact with someone if you do not have the time or energy to fully engage with them.
Don’t jump to conclusions by making assumptions. Misunderstandings can contribute to many problems in any relationship. Rather than assuming what the other person means, talk to them to seek clarification. Ask questions for your understanding. Be specific and clear. For instance, instead of saying “Do you want me to call you?” to your client, say: “Do you want me to call you on your cell phone next Wednesday afternoon?”
Aim to be a good listener. Set small goals that you can achieve daily. Focus on active listening. Make it a priority if you want to recapture the lost art of listening. People respect the person who will listen and give honest feedback. Strive to be that person.
Reclaiming the lost art of listening in the age of distraction is no easy feat, but it is possible and essential to achieve success in your personal as well as professional life. Interested in finding out more about active listening? Click here to learn more.
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