‘The Dangers of Ignoring The Unsaid’ by Gaye Crispin
Part 1 of a 3 part series
How effective are your communication skills? Are you a good listener? Are you a good talker? If you’re both, congratulations because that means you’re an excellent communicator, you’re worth your weight in gold, and the world is probably your oyster already.
But for many of us that’s still not the case….yet
And it’s interesting that so many people still believe great talkers and great listeners can’t possibly inhabit the same body, basing their whole world view on this subject on a few catchy clichés like; “If we were meant to talk more than listen, we would have two mouths and one ear,” or; “A man has two ears and one mouth so that he hears much and speaks little.”
When we look at the complexities and enormous benefits of the human mouth, I wonder if having two ears wasn’t just an evolutionary necessity for our species survival.
Not only was it vital to hear predators approaching, but multi-directional hearing was essential in knowing which direction that mother of all T-Rex’s was coming from. Not to mention how important it is to understand which direction the dinner bell sound is coming from – or more importantly – where that particularly passionate and enthusiastic wolf-whistle just hailed from!
Sure, shutting-up and the allowing others to speak is important. But that alone doesn’t equate to being a good communicator. It could simply mean that we’re a well-mannered indifferent type, or we’re bored spitless and just happen to have the memory of an elephant.
I’ve worked with and trained some truly remarkable sales people over the past 30 years. Most of these people could talk all 3 legs off a cast-iron pot, yet in a sales situation they were outstanding communicators, influencers, persuaders and achievers.
What made these people so brilliant was their great ability to hear and process what was being said before responding, alongside an extra capacity for hearing the ‘unsaid’ in communication. Processing ‘unsaid’ information (which obviously also includes body language) along with stated information, all at the same time, is a wonderful talent. And if you don’t have it naturally within your business, fear not, it can be learned or even bolted on to your organisation via a consultant.
The late, great Peter Drucker said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”
We’re surrounded by ‘the unsaid’ daily, and if we’re not hearing it we can also tend to take everything very literally, and that too will cause us more problems than a monkey at the control panel.
Why? Because if we devlop the capacity to hear the ‘unsaid’ we’re strengthening the communications process. If repeatedly ignored the ‘unsaid’ will either explode in our face, or become increasingly quiet and reserved until the speaker eventually disappears from view – and from our life, business, shop, database or member list.
The ‘said,’ on the other hand, is easy to hear, tends to get louder if ignored, and is often eventually heard, even despite our best efforts to the contrary.
In business, as in all relationships, developing the ability to ‘tune in’ and hear the ‘unsaid’ is a vital key to success.
If we’re aware that this ability doesn’t come naturally to us then we need to proactively create ways for the people we wish to engage with to freely express their thoughts and needs to us – without fear of ridicule, retribution or recrimination.
We need to ask ourselves, “Do we have systems in place which ensure we, and all those in our business, are hearing what’s being ‘said’ and ‘unsaid’ by our key stakeholders and market?”
If we don’t, the best and easiest way to correct this quickly is to engage an expert or organisation that does, that can and will do it on our behalf. This is one way to immediately address the situation,
Market research companies are a great resource for gathering information on our behalf, and in helping us translate the language of our market.
Outsourcing our listening requirements is a great option while we work on putting systems in place to develop stronger in-house business listening and communication skills.
Here are a couple of questions to finish on:-
1) How do we know that we and our organisation have great listening and communication skills? 2) When was the last time we conducted an anonymous survey about how ‘heard’ our staff, clients, customers and prospects feel? Have we ever had our communication strengths and weaknesses professionally measured or tested?
If you can truthfully answer these questionsto your own satisfaction then congratulations again, you must be a champion communicator.
Please leave any comments you’d like to make about this article below.
Copyright Gaye Crispin 2011
Gaye Crispin is a sales and marketing trainer, artist and writer. By the time Gaye was 25 years old she already owned 3 businesses, including a restaurant and a Solace Window Tinting Franchise.
In 1988 Gaye established a large telemarketing organization in Sydney, which was the first to market residential investment property to interstate investors over the phone. Her system was so successful and cost-effective that it quickly became the standard throughout the industry, and is still in use today.
She has successfully designed and implemented sales and marketing systems for motor vehicle accessories, art, skin care, health food, advertising, insolvency services, credit management systems, seminars and investment products.
Gaye has a debt collection and credit management agency, and is also the founder of Women On Top Business Planning, a group of individually successful business women who are passionate about helping business owners write powerful business or action plans for their business.