About a week and a half ago, we had the good fortune of participating in a Socratic dialogue with Mª Ángeles Quesada, philosopher and CEO of Equánima, and I must admit that before we started this workshop, we did not have a very good idea of what to expect.
It all turned out well. The truth is that Ms. Angeles challenged us as she made us reflect from the very start of the session on a very interesting question – does communication benefit from difference? To conclude the activity, each one of us made some final remarks and walked away with something to think about. In my case, it was about the transcendence of listening and empathy in communication.
Listening is underestimated and actually can be the most important element in communication. Without it, communication would not be a two-way street nor would we be able to establish a dialogue. Therefore, one of the most important virtues of a good communicator is that he or she knows how to listen.
One of the most common errors in a conversation is to interrupt our interlocutor, attempting to express our point of view at all costs, as a result, we focus solely on the idea that we want to convey and not on what is being said to us.
To listen is also conditioned by our attitude. Another negative habit is to judge whilst listening, without pausing to actually listen to what exactly is being said to us, and this is largely due to preconceived ideas or stereotypes about the speaker or the topic at hand.
In order to understand the power of communication from the point of view of the speaker, it is necessary to put aside prejudices, to listen to the speaker, put yourself in their shoes and ask them questions so that they can dispel any doubts. To ask questions is one of the key ways to listen effectively. As Jack Vincent said in one of his workshops that he ran in our agency – “more active listening is achieved by asking good questions, and that is the first step to get the customer to trust us.”
Without listening, we are not able to gain anyone´s confidence. In the same vein, the consumer needs to know that he is heard so that he can, in turn, trust a brand, and here social networks play a fundamental role. Quick reaction times, with an immediate response on behalf of whatever company on social networks, injects an immediate dose of trust in the consumer.
But this does not only affect people and brands. In a similar manner, the media will not gain the audience´s trust if it does not listen. Some time ago, Silvia Albert asked on this blog – “¿escuchan los medios de comunicación a sus audiencias?”, reminding them that social networks are to be used as a place to have a dialogue not a conversation lacking any sense of direction.
In conclusion, I will say this, that good communication does not start from speaking but from listening.