Why You Need Good Listening Skills

Dog listening

The Importance of Having Good Listening Skills

Dog listeningWe often think we are communicating effectively and of course, we want people to take action on what we say. So it can be frustrating when we talk and share a message and NOTHING happens.  Crickets…. Most likely, you were doing only half of what needs to be done to effectively communicate- the talking part. Listening is the other half – perhaps the better half – of all communication. Unfortunately, most people rarely receive any formal training for how to do it properly. Improving your listening skills can enhance your professional and personal life. Follow these practical steps towards becoming a better listener, even in challenging situations where it’s most important.

5 Tips for Better Listening

1. Ignore distractions:

Give the speaker your full attention by looking him/her in the eye. Don’t be looking at your phone or anything else.   Let the speaker know you’re interested. Having an appreciative audience makes it easier for people to express themselves. It will also help you stay alert.
 If you notice your mind wandering, bring it back to the subject at hand.

2. Listen for the main points:

It’s usually more effective to focus on understanding the key points that someone is making, rather than trying to etch each word into your memory. Listen as though you were taking notes even if you’re not.

3. Hear people out.

Let people present what they have to say without being interrupted. Concentrate on what they’re saying rather than formulating your own response. Don’t just wait by patiently until you can have the next word.  Listen for understanding.

4. Encourage people to express themselves: 

Sometimes people are hesitant to approach a sensitive topic. Use open-ended questions and patient pauses to enable a more complete discussion.
Verify the message. With complex or emotionally charged material, it’s important to listen attentively and verify what the other person is saying. You can repeat back a brief summary of the message to be sure you’re both on the same page.

5. Listening with empathy:

One of the best ways to understand what a person is really saying is to put yourself in their shoes. Try to understand their thinking and feelings.
 Manage your own emotions. When you’re listening to something that evokes a strong emotion, you may need to detach yourself temporarily from your feelings. It’s critical to distinguish between what is actually being said and your own assumptions and emotions.

Remember, God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. Becoming a better listener can enhance your own life and help you make a more positive contribution to the lives of others. Enjoy the many benefits of improving your listening skills.

Create Your Blog Voice for Your Business

How to Create the Blog Voice for Your Business

Find Your Blog VoiceMany businesses start blogs without a real plan. After all, it’s easy to do and you just need to start writing. But actually, there’s some serious planning involved and one of the major decisions to make is  your blog voice. Just like you need consistent, clear messaging in the rest of your business, a good blog has a clear and consistent voice that is communicated on every page. Consistency helps you create a brand and this is what builds trust with your audience. More importantly, you need a blog that is not a copy of anyone else but a true reflection of you and how you want to show up to your audience.

The Elements of a Blog Voice

What does ‘blog voice’ mean? It sounds simple but it’s made up of a number of different elements including personality, beliefs, tone, style, and type of content. Some questions to ask include:

  • Is your blog going to be strictly factual or opinionated? (are you going to be a technician or thought-leader)
  • What values will it speak to?
  • Is the tone going to be casual and friendly or more professional?
  • Are you going to focus on recent news items, write reviews or offer how-to information?

Personality is an especially important consideration because your blog can’t be dull and formal. The human aspect has to come through. It needs to be engaging and speak to emotions as well as simply giving the reader information.

Your Ideal Reader

Just like any other time you are communicating your message, the best way to determine all the elements of your voice is to picture your perfect reader. Who do you want to become a fan of your blog? If you can imagine this person clearly, you can write posts to them that resonate perfectly. It may take a bit of market research. Find out which demographics are important parts of your niche. Find out what they like and dislike. Learn about how they feel, what they want out of life, and how they see themselves. Some people even draw a physical picture of their ideal reader and look at it whenever they write!  I even recommend going further and naming this person so you can really connect to them as if s/he was sitting next to you.

Your Blog’s Image

Now that you’ve got a clear image of your blog readers in mind, the next step is to create an image for your blog that appeals to them. Consider not only your readers but also your business’s unique selling proposition. The key question to ask yourself here is – ‘How is my blog different than other similar blogs in my industry?’

The answer to this question lies in the specific niche you choose for your blog. One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is trying to be everything to everyone. The truth is that no niche is too specific (unless it’s a market of one person). You need to carve out a unique place for yourself in the blogosphere that will set your blog apart.

Finding Your Voice

Finding a voice for your writing is something all writers must do. If you’re going to blog, you’ve got to consider yourself a writer, even if you don’t have the training, experience or writing chops. Take some time to read different blogs to see how each person’s voice differs. Some write in a very personal style, some are humorous or slightly outrageous, some write posts that are short and to the point. Find your own way of writing that you enjoy and that resonates with your readers.

So, I would love to hear what your voice is…. Share in the comments.

 

Welcome to Day 15 of the Blog-A-Day Challenge

Happy President’s Day

You are at the halfway mark!!

Composite photo of a Bald Eagle with a flag and fireworks in the background. Given a grunge overlay for a nice aged effect. Nice patriotic image for Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Presidents Day.

 

Whether you have been blogging everyday or you have dropped off a little, make the commitment this week to get back on track.  Finish strong.  One easy way is to create a theme for the week and write different blog posts related to that theme.  Ideas include: a comprehensive post introducing the topic, a shorter tip sheet,  an infographic or perhaps even a poll to engage your audience.  You could even add in a short video.  Then a summary at the end of the week.  Have fun with your blog.

Have a great day!

Happy Saturday: Day 13 of the Blog-A-Day Challenge

Happy Weekend!!

Happy Weekend Concept

Wishing you a wonderful Saturday.  I look forward to sitting in front of the fire and catching up on my reading tonight.  Many of you may be doing the same. This weekend I invite you to try something new on your blog.  Maybe you decide to shoot a video or share a quote that inspires you.

I will be posting the survey here over the weekend. Please take the time to complete it (should take less than 5 minutes).

 

Also you may have noticed that I figured out how to add the social buttons.  PLEASE use them to share the post- this will help all of you.  Thanks.

Have a fantastic weekend!!

 

Day 12 of the Blog-A-Day Challengers: And the winners are

Congrats to All of You!
Hand holding a winner trophy cup in multi colored confetti concept vector illustration

 

 

You are all doing sharing such great information and support that each day I get excited to read what you have shared.

Thanks for being so committed to yourself and each other.

 

 

 

There are a few people who have really stood out by their posts and comments for the first week and I want to give them a BIG SHOUT-OUT:

Karen Langston: www.karenlangston.com

Juan d”Argent: www.noeconnect.com

Kathy Marcino: www.kmmdisc.com

Terry Green: www.bizeasesupport.com

Cliff Martin: www.claritytodesire.com

We have another survey coming this weekend about week 2.  PLEASE fill it out as I really do value your feedback.

Enjoy your weekend!

It is Day 11 of the Blog-A-Day Challenge Feb 11, 2016

Gear system

 

You are moving along like a well-designed machine and it is getting noticed.

Please continue to share your wisdom and support with each other.

I am traveling back home today and will announce the winners for week 1 tomorrow.  Thanks for your patience as I sort through all the blog comments!!

Have a great day!

Day 10 of the Blog-A-Day Challenge: Happy Hump Day

camelHappy Hump Day!!

We are at Day 10 and I just want to say “You Got THIS!!”

Your posts have been interesting, engaging and informative which is just what will help your audience.

With that, here is DAY 10!

Keep Thriving!

 

 

 

 

It’s Day 9 of the Blog-A-Day Challenge- Feb 9, 2016

Thank you in different languages

 

Thank you to those who completed the survey; appreciate the feedback.  Also LOVE how you are getting into a groove.

Many of you commented about getting new ideas about how to blog and what to blog about and about the support of the community.

You all ROCK!!!   Keep going!!! 

 

Wahoo- It is Day 6 of the B-A-D Challenge (2/6/16)

Welcome to the Weekend! 

I know for some of you this is catch up time.  For others, this might be the time to try something new- a quote, an infographic, or perhaps even a video.  Great job Janet Vasil on all your video blogs (vlogs).  love the weekend

So keep posting, keep commenting and PLEASE Keep Sharing on Social Media.  You can go to www.facebook.com/thrive4success and share these posts (this increases the visibility of the challenge and also each of your posts) and also share each other’s posts.

Look for a poll tomorrow about our first week of posts.

 

Day 5 of the Blog-A-Day Challenge: Feb 5, 2016

Happy Friday to you all!  And a Big Welcome to a few new people who have jumped in over the past 2 days.

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So I have been asked if we are blogging over the weekend and the answer is YES!!  It is important to keep the momentum going and I find that it is easier to do that if you continue through the weekends.  It is also a time that I know several of you have told me that you are going to catch up with reading posts.  It can also be a time to stack your writing so you have some blog posts  ready for the weekend.

Keep up the amazing posts and comments.  LOVE it all!!