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Effective Listening

The Missing Link in Teamwork and in Customer Service:  Effective Listening

By Priscilla Richardson

What’s the most valuable commodity in any business today? It’s not money. Anyone can go out and borrow a ton of it. It’s not equipment or software. Anyone with money can buy the same things.

The most valuable commodity is information. For example, your customer list. Can I come in and take it? Buy it?

Why not? Without your customer list you’d have to start all over again. You’d go from being in business to wanting to be in it. Big $$ difference.

That leads to the most valuable asset in any organization, you, its people.

You use your own information obtained through education and experience. You use company information to bring in and service business. With information, you make the profits to pay salaries and bonuses.

Then comes the question: how do you as an individual or you as a company representative, get your information? Reading? Good, the more you read the more you’ll know.

But most of us get a lot of our every day, work-a-day information through listening. Co-workers on your team talk to you. Your customers talk to you. You listen.

The big problem with getting information through listening? Everybody — and that includes you and me –  forgets 45% of what they hear.

That means if you’re working in a team and basing work decisions on what you heard, you can be working with HALF of what you need.

If you’re working with a customer, basing price quotes and recommendations on what you heard, you can be working with HALF of what you need.

How do you take care you’re using 100%? With active listening.

How do you listen actively? By

Taking notes.

Asking questions.

Avoiding multi-tasking.

Killing your assumptions about people and situations.

And paying attention while listening instead of planning what you’re going to say.

Remember the most valuable commodity in any business, information. Remember to listen more actively.

Starting right now.


Communication consultant Priscilla Richardson speaks & trains on all communications topics. For more information on how she can help your business or association reach greater productivity, email her at

You are free to use any of this material in whole or in part as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link and email link. Please also notify me where the material will appear.

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