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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Gen Y poised to rock payments

News

Industry Update

Senate committee brings interchange to account

W.net set for Boot Camp

Opening Pandora's Box?

HMS' parent sold

Alleged TJX cyber criminals indicted

Payments primed for new growth

To listen actively

Vicki M. Daughdrill
Small Business Resources LLC

Features

GS Advisory Board:
What's up in this downturn? - Part I

In transit with the unbanked

ISOMetrics:
Generation Y not?

Views

Banking on generational changes

Patti Murphy
The Takoma Group

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Telemarketing - The horn of plenty

Jason Felts
Advanced Merchant Services

Bold new mode in modems

Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

It really isn't what you know

Nancy Drexler
SignaPay Ltd.

The buyers are back

Lane Gordon
MerchantPortfolios.com

To listen actively

Vicki M. Daughdrill
Small Business Resources LLC

The buyers are back

Lane Gordon
MerchantPortfolios.com

Company Profile

IMS Inc.

New Products

Mirror success with facecard

facecard
Company: edő Interactive

Data breach insurance has your back

Merchant Data Security Policy
C.L. Frates and Company

Inspiration

Burnish legacy with mentoring

Burnish legacy with mentoring

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

August 25, 2008  •  Issue 08:08:02

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To listen actively

By Vicki M. Daughdrill

A thriving business is the goal of every business owner - from the beginning merchant level salesperson to the president and chief executive officer of a large, publicly traded ISO. This necessitates good management, which requires the ability to communicate well.

In "Communication matters," The Green Sheet, July 28, 2008, issue 08:07:02, I discussed the importance of developing good oral and written communication skills. This article takes us one step further and discusses another aspect of good communication: the ability to listen.

Communicating can be difficult, at times, because cultural background, personal history and temperament can all affect how individuals interpret the meanings of words.

Miscommunication happens, and misunderstandings result. Successful business owners understand the challenges inherent in the communication process. They strive to develop strong listening skills to meet the needs of their clients or customers.

Superior communication skills contribute to meeting goals, improving productivity, increasing sales, strengthening business relationships, and avoiding conflict and misunderstandings.

Communicating is a two-way street. If one person is speaking and another person is listening, communication takes place. Conversely, if one person is speaking and another person is not listening, communication does not happen.

Effort required

It is easy for barriers such as distractions, boredom or defensiveness to interrupt the flow of communication.

One of the best ways to become a better listener is to practice "active" listening. According to Wikipedia, active listening is the intent to "listen for meaning, in which the listener checks with the speaker to see that a statement has been correctly heard and understood. The goal of active listening is to improve mutual understanding."

Stated another way, active listening is the act of making a conscious effort to hear not only the words another person is saying but, more importantly, to try to understand the total message being sent.

Active listening consumes time and energy, necessitates concentration and determination, and requires practice. So, how do you listen actively? Following are three guidelines for sharpening your listening skills:

Courtesy essential

For every type of communication, barriers exist. Common roadblocks to effective listening include allowing disruptions to happen, interrupting the speaker, jumping to conclusions, practicing selective hearing, evaluating and judging the speaker rather than the content, and failing to pay adequate attention.

Here are some tips to help you overcome these listening hurdles:

Masterful listening skills will help advance your career and grow your business. If you think your listening skills need improving, a number of tools exist to help you strengthen your abilities. Recently, Internet bookseller Amazon.com Inc. turned up more than 10,000 hits for the term "active listening."

But the best thing you can do to improve your listening abilities is to acknowledge that you need to improve, follow the tips in this article, and practice, practice, practice. You will soon find your confidence level increasing, your presentations improving and your business expanding by the day.

Vicki M. Daughdrill is the Managing Member of Small Business Resources LLC, a management consulting company. E-mail her at vickid@netdoor.com or call her at 601-310-3594.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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