Listening is an important skill for real estate professionals to develop. It is by listening that you understand your clients’ needs, expectations, and desires. Listening is also critical in negotiations, interacting with colleagues, analyzing information, finalizing real estate transactions, developing relationships, and growing your career. Here are some ways that you can become a better listener:
1. Ask for feedback.
Get family, friends, and colleagues to give you an honest appraisal of your listening skills and how you can improve. Ask those you trust to give you examples of times when you’ve been a good listener as well as times when you may not have been.
2. Maintain eye contact with the person speaking.
Avoid looking around the room or at other people. If you must look away for a moment, shift your gaze back as soon as possible to indicate involvement in the conversation.
3. Offer your undivided attention.
If you’re in person, put down your phone, close the door, turn off the television or music, and focus only on the person speaking. If you’re on the phone, avoid multitasking while you talk. It can also be helpful to sit in one place and visualize the person on the other end of the call as they speak.
4. Avoid interrupting.
Unless it’s crucial to get clarification at that moment, don’t interject while others are talking. Let them finish their thoughts before you present any of your own.
5. Take notes.
When someone is talking to you, it can be helpful to write down facts, impressions, questions, and action items. Notes can help you remember follow-up questions and can be used to refresh your memory of the conversation later.
6. Lean forward.
Whether you’re in person or on a video conference call, leaning forward indicates interest and helps keep you focused on what is being said.
7. Ask questions.
In addition to showing attentiveness, questions can help you clarify points and gain understanding. Repeating what has been said can also show that you’ve heard and understood the points being made.
8. Think about what is being said, not about what you will say in reply.
While someone else is talking, it’s easy to jump ahead and start thinking about what you will say when your turn comes. However, this can distract you from gleaning important points or even give the impression that you’re not listening at all.
9. Pause before you speak.
Leaving a gap in the conversation can help you make sure that the other person is done speaking and can give you time to process what you just heard. Jumping in too quickly may cut the other person off and give the impression that you’re rushing through the discussion.
10. Recap the conversation.
Afterward, send an email or text message summarizing your understanding of what was said and any decisions reached or commitments made. Reviewing and documenting a conversation gives the other person a chance to clarify or correct important points and gives you something to reference if needed.
Just like any other skill, listening takes practice to perfect. In addition to showing respect for other people, being a good listener can help you develop stronger professional and personal relationships while learning new things in the process.