Listen More Than You Talk
Listen more than you talk.
I heard this last week at a conference about retailers and consumer brands. The point was that, in a world of push-over-pull, persistent over-communication and rampant messaging, we need to spend more time with our mouths closed and our ears open.
Intuitively, that makes a lot of sense, but it's hard to fully accept and action, given our history of what Seth Godin calls Interruption Marketing. That was relevant in a world where communication was one way, where consumers had far less choice in terms of where they received their entertainment, news, etc.
That's all changed now.
We still watch TV, but we also get our entertainment online, via Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and any number of alternative media sources. We read newspapers (far less than we used to), but we also (instead) read a dizzying array of news sources on our phones, laptops, Kindles, iPads, etc.
We're also not beholden to a small handful of content providers. We can, in fact, get our information - in any form - through a wide range of sources, catering to every imaginable niche we can think of.
The implication is that in order to communicate our message better, it's more important than ever to listen to what our customer is saying. What they value. What they need. What moves them.
This way, when we talk, it actually means something.
The other implicit message, which also came through at the conference, was the need to be "thoughtful and sparing in your communications so that every touchpoint counts and means something to the customer".
In other words, more isn't always better. Sending a barrage of communications isn't going to help your cause, it simply leads to fatigue and, ultimately, indifference.
Better to make every communication count. Every message count.
(Of course, as is often the case, this is just as true in our personal communications as it is in business. Far too often, we simply want to get our point across (at all costs). To say what we want to say. We think we're listening but we're not. We spend the time when the other person is speaking, thinking about what it is that we want to say next.
And then we wonder why we're not on the same page.
The thing is, we need to shut up.
Understand the other person's point of view. Understand their interests. Understand where they are going. Then shape our message (honestly) so that it resonates, means something.)
Talk less, listen more. Make every communication meaningful.