How often do you sit with someone and you hear them talking but you’re not really listening. Not only words are wasted, but so is time. Why?
Answer: It’s most likely because of lack of personalization and customization!
The trend for creating a competitive advantage and a differentiation strategy in the market has been lately to offer as much personalization and customization to the customer as possible. The more customized a product/service is, the more unique it becomes, and the more customers see value to it. People nowadays expect to be able to configure and customize almost everything they buy based on their needs and wants. The “cookie cutter” approach provides no guaranteed sustainability for businesses anymore. Now that was on a business level. However; on a personal level, shouldn’t our communication with others be the same? Can’t we customize our conversations with our audience the same way we want to customize our product or have it customized? In a personalized way to only fit personalities, backgrounds (language at least), needs, wants, etc…?
What makes you interested in some people more than others is that what they say is more customized to what you like or need to hear and how you like or need to; i.e. content-wise and approach-wise. (and I say both; “like” and “need” because what you need to hear may not always be what you like to hear). A boring conversation, training, lecture, etc…is a proof that the communication has not been customized nor personalized enough. The communicator hasn’t made an effort to get to know their audience well enough.
Here is another common example, if communication were more customized, we wouldn’t be receiving so many junk messages; emails and otherwise.
When we customize our communication, we become more effective and more efficient as words and time are no longer wasted. What’s the value of a word if it has no meaning to the listener?
Like with the product, to customize communication and personalize it, we need to know the customer/ audience. And of course to get to know someone better, we need to listen better. Hence, listening is considered the key fundamental for effective communication. Listening and knowing your audience is the key success factor of many fields where communication is core such as in building relationships, negotiation, training, selling, etc…
In addition, we can’t but relate all this to how it affects trust. I’m more likely to trust someone who makes an effort in choosing the content of what they’re saying rather than trusting someone who is randomly talking, or who is just talking for the sake of talking, or just because it makes them feel better.
Finally, and as important, let’s not forget that communication is a two way process. Whether a sender or a receiver, we need to customize it. The listener needs to customize the communication as well. You customize what you want to listen to. Encouraging the sender to go on with his/her gossip by emphatically listening to them is a good example of not customizing your listening; another scenario of “words are wasted, and so is time!”
Let’s listen better, personalize better, and communicate better!