How do you get the best from people? Why make a big deal out of something small, when you know that you can solve the problem by listening.
Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems. A person toothache means more to that person than a famine in China which kills a million people.
Listening is a tool that can be applied in everyday life, wherever you see yourself, an example in the family, job, Listening is just as important in one’s home life as in the world of business, coming across a story of Millie Esposito of croton-on-Hudson, it made it her business to listen carefully when one of her children wanted to speak with her.
One evening she was sitting in the kitchen with her son, Robert and after a brief discussion of something that was on his mind, Robert said “mom I know that you love me very much” Mrs. Esposito was touched and said; of course, I love you very much. Did you doubt it? Robert responded; no but I know you love me because whenever I want to talk to you about something you stop whatever you are doing and listen to me; this is an act of listening to Mrs. Esposito being a great conversionist.
According to former Harvard president Charles W. Eliot, “There is no mystery about successful business intercourse when he was asked, what is the secret, the mystery, of a successful business interview? ……Exclusive attention to the person who is speaking to you is very important. Nothing else is so flattering as that;
Eliot himself was a past master of the art of listening. Henry James, one of America’s first great novelists, recalled: “Dr. Eliot’s listening was not mere silence, but a form activity. Sitting very erect on the end of his spine with hands joined in his lap, making no movement except that he revolved his thumbs around each other faster and slower, he faced his interlocutor and seemed to be hearing with his eyes as well as his ears. He listened with his mind and attentively considered what you had to say while you said it.
Self-evident, isn’t it? You have done have to study for four years at Harvard to discover that. Yet I know and you know store owners who will rent expensive space, buy their goods economically, dress their windows appealing, spend thousands of dollars in advertising and then hire clerks who haven’t the sense to be good listeners-clerks who interrupt customers, contradict them, irritate them, and all drive them from the store.
A department store in Chicago almost lost a customer who spent several thousand dollars each year in that store because a sales clerk wouldn’t listen. Mrs. Henrietta Douglas purchased a coat at a special sale. After she has brought it home, she noticed that there was a tear in the lining. She came back the next day and asked the sales clerk to exchange it. The clerk refused even to listen to her complaint. “you bought this at a special sale,” she said. She pointed to a sign on the wall. “Read that,” she exclaimed. “‘All sales are final.’ Once you bought it, you have to keep it. Sew up the lining yourself.”
“But this was damaged merchandise,” Mrs. Douglas complained.
“Makes no difference,” the clerk interrupted. “Final’s final.”
Mrs. Douglas was about to walk out indignantly, swearing never to return to that store ever. When she was greeted by the department manager, who knew her form many years of patronage. Mrs. Douglas told her what had happened.
The manager listened attentively to the whole story, examined the coat, and then said: “special sales are final ‘final’ so we can dispose of merchandise at the end of the season. But this ‘no return’ policy does not apply to damaged goods. We will certainly repair or replace the lining, or if you prefer, give you money back.” Mrs. Douglas was happy and smile and left after her issues was handle by the manager?
What a difference in treatment! If that manager had not come along and listened to the customer, a long-term patron of that store could have been lost forever. Be a good listener and try to answer questions politely.