But in an era where everyone must be heard, are we forgetting how to listen?
As we put together our content strategy for 2020, we carefully planned the number of blogs we would publish each month, the frequency of social posts, the themes for each monthly newsletter, the channels we were pushing certain content out, and it suddenly felt vastly overwhelming. It seems that every other marketing blog post these days has recommendations on "how to cut through the noise", and while we certainly understand the importance of creating valuable content for our customers and meeting them where they are, we also asked ourselves the question, "Does anyone remember how to listen?"
Everyone is so bombarded and inundated with opinions, thoughts, theories and information in today's world, and it seems, in essence, that everyone has become scanners and skimmers, only paying attention to surface-level information and not spending enough time really listening - ourselves included.
A small pratfall used to get our attention. Now it takes an epic fail to open our eyes and ears. And while this certainly isn't going to change in the congested digital landscape in which we are living, we looked up a few ways to reset our focus and really begin to listen to our clients and our own coworkers.
First, we are changing the way we work.
Today's workday consists of constant multitasking, but it is absolutely crucial to learn, or re-learn, how to focus on a single task. Singletasking has been shown to be more productive and less stressful, and will allow us to absolutely dial-in on the client or problem that is in front of us. We believe it is important to commend those who are able to dial it down and employ a single, laser-focused mindset and to encourage each other to integrate this work ethic into our everyday.
Second, we are trying to listen rather than hear.
As Seth S. Horowitz said in a New York Times article on The Art and Science of Listening, "Hearing, in short, is easy... But listening, really listening, is hard when potential distractions are leaping into your ears every fifty-thousandth of a second..." Active listening will help us better assess problems, make stronger connections, and build trust with others.
Third, we're encouraging our teammates to have more real, face to face conversations.
Listening is an art and a tool, and we want to invest in our conversations with our customers. Let's learn to unplug and listen to what our clients are really saying. We might all be surprised at what we actually hear.
At the end of the day, both our teammates and clients want to feel that they are being listened to and understood. They want us to lean in and invest in the conversation and opportunity. Listening is a skill that takes time and effort to improve, but it's our goal to start honing that skill for 2020 and beyond.