Medically speaking, Hearing and listening are not the same thing. Hearing is the act of perceiving sound. It is involuntary and simply refers to the reception of aural stimuli. Listening is a selective activity which involves the reception and the interpretation of aural stimuli. Making sense of what you are hearing.
The best sales people and the best recruiters know this. They will have learned to listen to what is important and filter out the “background noise”. There is no doubt that it is a genuine skill but it is definitely trainable and certainly something that we could all improve upon. If you are hearing but not listening you are wasting your time. Why? You will miss the key buying signals or just as importantly the reasons why no matter what you say, this deal will not happen.
As a manager or team leader, you need to take this to the next level. Not only must you focus on your own interactions but also interpret what is going on around you whilst only listening to one side of a conversation. You truly need to be able to filter out the white noise and decipher where the conversation is going.
This morning I heard a member of my team on a call and despite the fact that I could only hear what he was saying I was pretty sure that he had missed something. We discussed it after the call and I was right. I have no doubt that he was hearing and thought he was listening but sometimes you can just miss something. We all know the phrase “selective hearing” and it’s just about OK if you are one of my children or my dog (he selectively ignores everything) but it’s not a great trait in a Recruiter.
Perhaps we are sometimes so excited to find a candidate who is interested in the vacancy we have that we hear what we want to hear.
In short, listen to what is being said to you and learn to listen to what is going on with your colleagues if they are on a call. You don’t need to be someone’s manager to help them and ensure that they haven’t missed a key point on a call. Hopefully they will do the same for you and help you to land a deal that might otherwise have slipped through your fingers.