Jacky Leonard's blog

Archive entries for: Jul-2010

La la la…I’m not listening!

Categories:  Business Coaching, Effective Communication, Delivering Authentic Customer Experiences

In my 20 plus years working within service organisations I’ve come to the conclusion listening is an underrated, but really vital skill.  I’m often left cold by what passes for good listening.  What I frequently observe could be more accurately described as ‘waiting to interrupt’!

I was at a presentation for Investors in People a few years back where David Fairhurst, VP People at McDonalds gave his simple success formula for creating exceptional customer service.

It was:

L2 (C+E)+R

The translation?

Listen a lot to customers and employees and respond

Great isn’t it?

It’s about being INTERESTED, rather than INTERESTING!  However, as with all simple concepts, they sometimes aren’t quite so easy to achieve and require a good deal of effort and commitment from the whole organisation and in particular from the person doing the listening and responding.

So what’s the reason listening is such a difficult skill to acquire?

Well, we talk at a rate of around 125 words a minute, yet have the ability to listen at a rate of 400 words a minute.  This often means we are way ahead of the person who is speaking and as a consequence can get distracted.  Our minds can wander and we either end up thinking of something else; or the speakers words may trigger a connection in our brains to information we’d like to share.  At this point we are in ‘waiting to interrupt’ mode, rather than really  listening!  So it truly does take commitment, effort and a genuine interest if you want to be an effective listener.

Go on, give it a try.  Alternatively, you could just stick your fingers in your ears and say after me la la la…I’m not listening!!