Accounting standards should include listening

In earlier posts you would have heard me bang on about the importance of listening when meeting and discussing issues with clients and pitching for new business.

I was scanning the web recently and found an excellent list of barriers to effective listening and strategies to promote better listening.

Barriers to effective listening

There are many reasons as to why individuals fail to listen successfully, These include:

  1. Interrupting
  2. Faking attention and tuning out
  3. Becoming emotional
  4. Jumping to conclusions
  5. Getting distracted
  6. Pre-judging the subject
  7. Wrong focus
  8. Gathering only facts
  9. Inflexibility while listening
  10. Avoiding complicated subjects

Strategies to promote better listening

You can improve your listening skills by following some of the strategies mentioned below: Maintain eye contact with the speaker.

  1. Provide clues that you are actively involved in listening.
  2. Focus on content, not delivery
  3. Avoid emotional involvement
  4. Avoid distractions
  5. Refrain from formulating an immediate response
  6. Ask questions
  7. Use the gap between the rate of speech.
  8. Be willing to accept revisions
  9. Choose the right environment
  10. Stay active by asking questions for yourself

(Source: http://hubpages.com/hub/Importance-of-Listening-Skills-in-Professional-Life)

I remember my dad saying to me years ago … “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a very good reason … make sure you use them in the that ratio” It took me some time to work out that meant you should listen twice as much as you talk! Admittedly I was quite young at the time  🙂

Since then I’ve found out that the original quote was from Socrates –  “We have been given two ears, two eyes, and one tongue. This means that we should hear and see more than we speak.” Socrates (469 BC–399 BC)

So if you really want to stand out to your clients listen to what they are saying. If for example, a client asks you about collecting debt from their clients, by simply listening you can uncover a variety of issues. In this example cash flow would be an issue that you can certainly help your client with!

See you next post.

James E

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