A key skill for effective networkers is to be able to listen properly. There are 5 levels of listening
1 We don’t listen. It’s rude and we cannot possibly build relationships! People who do this are simply waiting to talk rather than listening. You will meet the ‘Ah but…’ and ‘Yes yes and ….’ So called listeners.
2 Men are better at level 2 than women. We pretend to listen!
3 Most people do this most of the time. We selectively listen. When we are talking to people we keep changing channels in our heads. It’s natural in today’s sound-bite society to lose concentration. I don’t condone it, it’s just how it is.
4 This is where we listen attentively. We can’t do it for more than say 30 seconds but at least it does show we are paying attention and treating the other person with respect.
5 This is the key when we ask important questions and we really want to get a truthful answer. I call it full-body listening. Not only should we listen but also watch the person’s body language carefully. We can lie with our words but not with our tone of voice or body movements. When we look carefully we can often glean more by reading between the lines and realising that what isn’t being said can be more important than what is!
The core skill we need to be an effective networker is asking the right questions but if we don’t listen at level 4 and 5 it will a great skill wasted