As communicators we are encouraged to find new ways to convey messages, new ways to influence people and new ways to change behaviours. But a key part of communication is the ability to tune in and listen to the problems and challenges of others. In our profession, we are problem solvers, but how can we possibly ensure that we are solving the right problems if we are failing to listen to those around us.
I have always believed in the power of a face to face, or worst case phone, conversation. Emotion is just so easily misread over email. Yet, in our busy day-to-day lives, many of us revert to email to fire out messages left, right and centre. In today's working world, it has become easier to hide behind email rather than dealing with issues head on.
In the travel and leisure space I am seeing a lot of trends reports highlight personalisation and the power of the human touch for building brand loyalty and trust. But this is not just relevant for B2C marketing. This human desire for feeling valued is inherent in all interactions, even business ones. In a talk by Dr Paul Redmond at the ABTA Travel Convention. he explained that we are all suffering from "future shock". Too much is changing in too shorter time and as a result our manners and etiquette has not adapted. In fact, the rate of technological advancement has overtaken our rate of human adaptability.
So we must learn how to listen again.
But how? Well, stepping away from the computer to call someone after an email would be a start, or perhaps arranging a face to face meeting instead of a conference call. Or even, follow the steps in the Influence article linked below. Extra time will need to be invested, but in an industry where relationships and open communication are key to solving problems, this is an investment that will pay dividends.
Listening is fundamental to good relationships and critical to organisational communication. But it’s a much underrated skill that is seldom taught.