5 Listening Tips for Better Client Communication

March 30 2017

Staying on top of industry trends and technology is important but, sometimes, the best tools available are the ones you were born with -- your ears. Active listening may not be a new concept, but it's one that requires work to master. Here are five tips for listening more effectively to your clients.

1. Focus on the client -- Don't listen to respond; listen to understand. Instead of trying to jump ahead to a quick solution and move on, take the time to digest the client's thoughts. And don't interrupt.

2. Get the big picture -- Avoid getting caught up in the minutiae of the conversation. Understanding the client's main ideas and concerns first will make it easier to ask the right questions. You can come back to the details once the big picture is clear.

3. Read between the lines -- Pay attention to nonverbal cues. Often, small body movements or subtle changes in facial expression or tone can help you pick up on unexpressed questions and concerns.

4. Keep an open mind -- Personal biases, even those based on experience and expertise, can prevent constructive conversation. Don't assume you know what the client thinks or what they're going to say. Put any preconceived notions aside and see what you can learn by simply listening.

5. Let the client know you're listening -- Repeat their input back to them in your own words to show that you understand. Ask questions for further clarification. And put away your smartphone. Even if you're trying to take notes, mobile devices can be distracting and can give the impression you're not paying attention.