Perhaps it’s the very description of our lot in life–the small business owner– that gives us a bit of a chip on our shoulder and the need to get in every last syllable. You know what I’m talking about if you have ever been to a BNI meeting or some other networking event. For whatever the reason, small business owners are, in Seinfeld terms, interrupters.
In other words, we are guilty of not always letting the other person in the conversation finish their thought before interjecting ours. Kind of like the business version of the former Big Show on WEEI.
Of course, yours truly is guilty as charged as a serial abuser. No more. Starting now, whether it’s a phone call or face-to-face, you will no longer hear my thoughts or opinions until the other person’s verbal thought has finished of its own volition, a sort of imaginary talking stick. When the person is done, I can imagine them passing it on to me and then it’s my turn.
There, I’m feeling better already. And you can join me on this mission to incorporate a critical element to all small business communication: listening. We’ll call it a Listener’s Club. Here are the rules.
Rule 1: Before you speak, make sure the other person in your conversation has stopped speaking for more than a count of three. Up until that point, LISTEN.
Rule 2: Learn Rule 1.
Rule 3: Be really sure you learn Rule 1.
Being a small business owner is not an easy task these days and, in many cases, it is dog-eat-dog out there. Yet our best hope in building our own business rests more on our ability to listen than it does blurting out our elevator speech. If we all listen, we can all win.
Sounds simple, but it sure makes a lot more sense when nobody interrupts.