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Hearing vs. Listening

Some people believe they have the exceptional quality of listening, and no matter how many times they miss the mark, they will hang on to that belief. This is a sure sign they don’t listen because listening is a skill. Hearing is the ability to hear and requires no concentration or deep thought. You are just waiting for your opportunity to dive into the conversation.

Are you that person, the great listener?

Most people hear to respond, not listen to understand. Listening requires more than just the ears. It requires a connection with the eyes, heart and mind. Effective listening requires one to feel the words and see the expressions and body language.

Deborah Bull eloquently stated, “Body language is a very powerful tool. We had body language before we had speech, and apparently, 80% of what you understand in a conversation is read through the body, not the words.” That is why in this world of technology, real communication and deep listening gets lost.

As a business owner, you must enhance your listening skills. When you enhance your listening skills, you understand your clients, and most importantly, your staff in a more meaningful way. Remember, clients do not come first; employees come first.


If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients. The best thing you can do for your business is to listen to the people at the front door. They direct the flow of traffic. When they believe they don’t matter to you, your clients won’t matter to them. When you communicate with your staff, recognize their abilities to meet the mission of your organization is highly dependent on your ability to empower them.

The Three (3) L’s of Leadership are:

LOOK: You cannot be an effective leader without these qualities. You must see your employee, but you must also observe them. Praise them. Develop them. Trust them to do the job you hired them to do.

LISTEN: Sometimes, as a leader, it is important to listen by saying nothing. Focus on them. Applaud their role in your organization.

LEARN: Get to know your employee. A true leader knows s/he does not know it all, and they learn from their staff, the people who are most likely closer than your clients than you.

Let’s pause for a moment… up to this point, have you heard me? Or have you been listening to me?

If you heard me, you didn’t hear me right. If you were listening, you understand I have a heart and mind to help you communicate better with your clients. I see you!

Let’s talk. You are still reading this blog, so I know you must be having some challenges seeing and listening to your clients and your staff. What are the challenges?

How can I help you LISTEN better? You have the hearing part down to a science. How’s that working for you? I WANT TO HELP YOU!

I have transformed businesses by empowering the staff to turn satisfied clients into LOYAL clients, thereby sustaining and growing their businesses exponentially. How? By challenging employees to know, learn and grow into the five (5) key success factors of business.

What are the five key success factors of business?

  1. Strategic Focus (Leadership, Management, Planning)

  2. People (Personnel, Staff, Learning, Development)

  3. Operations (Processes, Work)

  4. Marketing (Customer Relations, Sales, Responsiveness)

  5. Finances (Assets, Facilities, Equipment)

Do you really listen to your staff? Do you know what they are thinking? Or do you only seek to ensure they know what you are thinking?

No matter how you answered these questions, you must know that listening is a vital part of leadership. To improve your listening, begin asking questions like those above because they force you to listen to gain understanding of the answer.

Listening requires patience. Too often, we hear a person speaking, and we want to rush them to get to the point so we can respond before our point eludes us. Maybe that is the problem and the solution. Think about it. In some instances, getting to the point is a must. Of course, there are also times when you must relax your own standards in order to show patience and compassion towards another person. A situation may warrant you to listen beyond your willingness, but sometimes that is necessary. Situations like these is when it is more important than ever to know your listener.

When you lose the listener, the listener becomes a “hearer,” and your message gets lost.

I can help you save your message. I’m listening… contact me at 540.356.5360 or via email at

Or go to and sign up for a consultation. While you’re there, please also complete the Consultation Questionnaire so that I can understand your needs and expectations for a successful outcome.

Your brother in growth,

Dr. Rick G.

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