Connected listening is about really focusing on what the other person is saying, how they are saying it, how they look, stand and move when they are speaking and how connected they are to what they are saying. You need to be genuinely interested in understanding the other party and listen with your complete attention to create an energetic connection.

Here are 10 techniques to help you to listen in order to understand what the other person is saying to you.

1. Stop Talking- Even in Your Own Head!
When the other person is talking, really focus on them and just listen to what they are saying; do not interrupt, talk over them or finish their sentences for them. One of the biggest traps is focusing on your response before the other person has finished talking. If you catch yourself thinking about your response, you are not listening. If you catch yourself thinking about your response, you are not listening

2. Be Patient – Don’t Jump In

A pause, even a long pause, does not necessarily mean that the speaker has finished.  Be patient and let the speaker continue in their own time. Sometimes it takes time to formulate what to say and how to say it, especially if you are discussing a difficult or heartfelt matter.

3. Help Them Feel at Ease
Be relaxed and gentle with the other person; nod or use small gestures or gentle words that acknowledge you have heard them and encourage them to continue.  Maintain active and connected eye contact – not a bland stare that will make them think your lights have gone out.

4. Avoid All Distractions
Put other things out of your mind and give the other person your full attention. Don’t doodle, shuffle papers, look out the window, pick your fingernails (and especially not your nose), read emails, text anyone, lookup Facebook or any other sort of behaviour that takes your attention away from them. Avoid all the interruptions you can.  These behaviours disrupt your listening process and send messages to the speaker that you are bored or distracted and not listening to them.

5. Avoid Any Personal Prejudice
Everybody has a different way of speaking and expressing themselves – some people are more nervous or shy than others, some make excessive hand movements, some people like to pace whilst talking and others prefer to sit still.  Focus on what is being said and be accepting of their delivery style and not judgmental of them.

6. Take In Their Tone and Volume
Volume and tone both add to the words we say – words and sentences can mean totally different things depending on the tone in which they are expressed.  Everybody uses pitch, tone and volume to add expression and emphasis to what they are saying and convey certain emotions which help you understand the meaning of what is being said and what is underlying their words.

7. Watch for their Non-Verbal Communication
More than half of what we say is expressed in our gestures, facial expressions and eye-movements which are integral to understanding what the person really means. We don’t just listen with our ears but also with our eyes to take into consideration aspects such as how they are sitting and are they looking at you, to discern the additional information being expressed via their body language. More than half of what we say is expressed in our gestures, facial expressions and eye-movements

8. Engage with Empathy, Compassion and Respect
Try to understand the other person’s point of view; see the issues from their perspective and respect their need to express themselves. Put yourself in their shoes to understand how they are feeling. That is what having empathy means. Respect and accept them just as you want them to accept and respect you and what you say.

9. Keep Listening Even When You Don’t Agree
Having empathy does not mean you have to agree with everything they say but do not stop listening to them if you don’t agree. Hear them out. Do not tell them they are wrong or they don’t understand as this will just inflame the situation. Accept that each of you have the right to your own opinion.  You may have to agree to disagree.

10. Listen for the Whole Story – Not Just Words
Use your intuition and insight to listen with your heart to complete the picture of their feelings and perceptions.  When the other person has finished what they are saying, relay your understanding of what they said back to them to clarify your comprehension and ensure you have received their message accurately – especially in a complex discussion or argument.

Which of these do you use or not use? Try to adopt them all and have fun seeing the connections you will make.

Janeen Sonsie – Get Real Communication
Janeen is the author of “Get the BALLS to Get REAL – How to Communicate Effectively to Build Healthy Relationships”. She loves helping people be true to themselves in their communication to build healthy and happy relationships, both personally and professionally. She is available for coaching, speaking and facilitation engagements.


Unresolved conflict is one of the biggest destroyers of enthusiasm and hence also productivity that exists in business. All too often we ignore it and hope it will go away and resolve itself. This is usually because we don’t have the courage to face it head-on and find a compromise and resolution. All ignoring it does is let it fester like an infected sore or cancer that will spread through your organisation and reduce motivation and productivity. Ultimately it may cause people to leave or at least be very unhappy. Rather than fearing conflict, we should view it as an opportunity to grow your relationships by addressing and resolving the problem. A problem resolved develops far greater loyalty than no problem at all both with customers and your teams

Follow these tips for resolving conflict effectively:

  • Address the situation immediately. As soon as you find out about it, take action towards finding a resolution. Don’t ignore it and hope it will go away of its own accord. Face the situation boldly and ask the people involved what is happening. Be careful to allow heightened emotions to diminish first though, so it can be discussed without excessive emotional reactions.
  • Set clear rules for speaking and listening. Allow only one person to speak at once and ensure everyone has the chance to tell their story and feel heard with an equal opportunity to speak. Ensure everyone feels they have been heard and understood and were able to present their side of the story without involving any a personal attacks.
  • Identify the personal agendas. Read between the lines and look beyond the words being spoken. Often the real issue is what is NOT being said and this is where a leader/mediator needs to be the coach and counsellor to get the person(s) to open up about what is really going on for them. It can be helpful to ask “Why?” or “What is that about?” gently about 5 times to get to the real core of the situation.
  • Coach them to discuss feelings. Every participant in the resolution discussion needs to agree to share without blaming or judging. People will only share their real feelings if they feel safe from judgement. The more this is done in your team, the less conflict will occur. It is amazing how much sharing your real feelings will release the negative energy around it and replace it with relief and empowerment.
  • Negotiate a mutually agreed resolution or compromise.  Brainstorm possible solutions with all parties. Let them offer up ideas as to how the situation could be resolved, taking all perspectives into account. Allow the conflicting parties the opportunity to find their own solution if possible.

 

Try these tips at work and at home for effective conflict and relationship management. I know it is a lot easier said than done, but if you start with the right intention and approach, it will go a lot smoother than you expect.  Of course, you can always call on coaches/facilitators like myself to help you implement these tips and resolve the conflict. Sometimes having an objective mediator is just what is needed.

Janeen Sonsie

Janeen is the founder of Get Real Communication and an international speaker, coach and facilitator who is passionate about how people communicate and relate to each other in all relationships – both business and personal. For the last 20 years Janeen has been facilitating hands-on workshops with some of the world’s leading companies (such as Cisco, HP, Oracle and Microsoft) in over 10 countries around Asia-Pacific, the UK and the USA helping them improve their communication, relationships and profits. Janeen is available for business and relationship coaching.  www.getrealcommunication.com


I know it is stating the bleeding obvious but these are the only methods to grow your business; To increase your revenue you need to get your current customers to buy more or get more customers. To increase profit you need to find a more efficient way of serving your customers that delivers greater value so they are happy to pay more. Achieving these objectives requires effective and resourceful management of your customer relationships. This requires engaging communication strategies with valuable communication. Here are some tips to help you do that.

  1. Know your customer profitability. In particular, who are your most profitable customers and your least profitable. Generally you will find that 20% of your customers will bring in 80% of your revenue. Analyse their characteristics to put them in groups; identify the common characteristics of each group. For highest revenue growth, target more prospects who are like your profitable customers and avoid the least-profitable types.
  2. Understand your customers. What do they value and what do they want? Where do they gather their information and how do they like to communicate? Knowing this will help you make decisions so you deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time via the right media channel. If you know what they want, you can provide it. If you don’t know, ask them!
  3. Define your relationship strategy. You want different relationships with each group of customers. The aim is to increase the loyalty and spending of your most profitable customers, therefore you want in-depth communication with them, individually if you can. As there is little business value in relationships with your least profitable customers beyond maintaining the connection, they should receive less communication that is more general in nature and lower cost to serve. This will help you get the best return on investment on your marketing and customer service spend.
  4. Plan your two-way communication. Create a plan for your communication with each group of customers; how often, which communication channel/medium, what message and what offers will you make so that you deliver just what your customer wants. Also be sure to plan how you will receive communication from your customers. A relationship requires two-way communication so you need to listen to your customers to understand them and know what they value. Be sure to save and analyse this feedback and information as it is very valuable to your business – especially if it is negative. It is best to know what you need to fix.
  5. Always focus on the value you deliver. In every communication, make sure you deliver value to your customer – in their terms and not just what you think is value. Ensure you have a message and offer that is valuable and important to them. Knowing your most profitable customers well means you can offer more of what they like and hence acquire more customers like them. Consequently you will increase you profitability and your revenue.

These are some of the tips for good customer relationship management. I know it is a lot easier said than done, but if you start with the right relationship and communication strategies for your customers, it will be a lot easier for you to grow your business. You can always call on coaches like me to help you execute these tips.

Janeen Sonsie

Janeen is the founder of Get Real Communication and an international speaker, coach and facilitator who is passionate about how people communicate and relate to each other in all relationships – both business and personal. For the last 20 years Janeen has been facilitating hands-on workshops with some of the world’s leading companies (such as Cisco, HP, Oracle and Microsoft) in over 10 countries around Asia-Pacific, the UK and the USA helping them improve their communication, relationships and profits. Janeen is available for business and relationship coaching.

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We need to develop partnering relationships in business all the time; whether it be joint ventures or strategic alliances, selling through distributor partners or partnering with your suppliers. The more effective we are in building these relationships, the more benefit we will get from the partnership, particularly in creating business growth. Follow these communication tips and you will get a lot more value from your partnering arrangements.

  1. Formalise mutually agreed goals. It is important to establish and mutually agree the goals for each partner and the partnership at the beginning. That is ‘what does everyone want?’ This ensures everyone knows where they stand and what value is to be delivered to each party. Also ensure that individual goals do not conflict with each other and that the joint goal provides a strategic advantage to each party. Document your agreement as a stake in the ground so you can refer to it when necessary.
  2. Deliver win-win value. All business relationships are based on achieving objectives that benefit the business on both sides. Once you have defined the objectives, monitor the partnership’s progress to ensure everyone is getting what they want from it. Make sure you deliver the value as agreed and that no-one is benefiting at the expense of the other party.
  3. Make communication a two-way exercise. Relationships are based on two people interacting and communicating. Both people need to want to be in the relationship and also to want to communicate. If only one person wants the relationship then it is called “stalking”. So be clear that you both want the partnership and keep the two-way communication occurring on a regular and ongoing basis.
  4. Resolve conflict when it occurs. Never leave it to fester like an infected sore. Always meet, face to face if you can, to discuss what is happening and why you aren’t happy about it. The quicker you discuss it, the sooner it can be resolved so it does not degenerate the partnership.  You may be anxious about such a conversation, so just be true to what is right for you and stay open to possible resolutions.  It will be easier than you think.
  5. Jointly plan the activities. Get together to brain storm, discuss and document a written plan of who is doing what in the partnership. Then make sure you review and extend it quarterly, at least. This creates clarity in the partnership and defines the responsibilities. It will prevent a lot of conflict and therefore save you from the difficult conversations. If conflict does occur, documented goals, objectives and plans make it much easier to resolve the problem. Also together you can achieve much more than on your own – and isn’t that why you partner in business in the first place.

Good communication is critical in business partnerships because without it you do not have a relationship and you do not have any boundaries to define the partnership. So whenever you are working with anyone in your business, follow these tips and you will find the business progresses a lot more easily. Good luck with your partnerships. By the way, you can try applying these to your intimate partnership too and see what a difference it makes.

Janeen Sonsie

Janeen is the founder of Get Real Communication and an international speaker, coach and facilitator who is passionate about how people communicate and relate to each other in all relationships – both business and personal. For the last 20 years Janeen has been facilitating hands-on workshops with some of the world’s leading companies (such as Cisco, HP, Oracle and Microsoft) in over 10 countries around Asia-Pacific, the UK and the USA helping them improve their communication, relationships and profits. Janeen is available for business and relationship coaching.

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How good any relationships is – be it business or personal – depends on the quality of the communication that occurs on a two-way basis. Every relationship in business is only as good as the interaction between the people involved in that relationship. To have a fulfilling relationship that meets our objectives, we need to have highly effective and authentic communication in both directions.

Here are 5 tips to help you be authentic in your communication and increase the sense of fulfilment in your relationships.

  1. Be open and honest. Good business is not a game where you have to trick people to get the results you want. Your team will be much more engaged if you are open and honest with them – especially when admitting mistakes. Be honest about what is happening, both the good and the not so good, and people will respond with trust and loyalty because you will be exhibiting integrity.
  2. Adopt an Accepting Attitude. Be open and understanding of what is rather than judging the people you are with and looking for the negative. When you do this, you will be more accepting of the people you are working with and what is happening. This will free you up to focus on what needs to be done to achieve the objectives. An open attitude without judgement will keep you receptive to really hearing what is being said and therefore you will hear, and be told, more.
  3. Lose the blame game. Drop the need to blame anyone for anything. Mistakes get made every day so turn them into valuable lessons. As soon as we blame others for what is happening we play victim and give our power away. Take responsibility for what is happening and focus on actions to improve the situation rather than blaming someone with what you say.
  4. Listen to Understand. Really listen with the intent of understanding not only what the other person is saying, but also why they are saying it and what they are not saying. If you maintain this intention, rather than focusing on what you are going to say next, the other person will feel really heard and valued and be more engaged.
  5. Stay Present. Stay present with the other person in your conversation. Focus on what they are saying and don’t let your mind wander onto your to do list or any other subject. If you find yourself thinking about anything else pull your mind up and refocus on being present in the discussion. In the same vein, don’t do anything else while listening – no emails, texting, or anything else that takes you out of that discussion. Focus on the other person as you would want them to focus on what you say.

When you apply these tips you will develop relationships that are much more engaging and fulfilling and in business that translates to motivating and productive. Feel free to try this at home too.

Janeen Sonsie

Janeen is the founder of Get Real Communication and an international speaker, coach and facilitator who is passionate about how people communicate and relate to each other in all relationships – both business and personal. For the last 20 years Janeen has been facilitating hands-on workshops with some of the world’s leading companies (such as Cisco, HP, Oracle and Microsoft) in over 10 countries around Asia-Pacific, the UK and the USA helping them improve their communication, relationships and profits. Janeen is available for business and relationship coaching.

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Good business is all about communication and how well you do it. Ineffective communication is at the heart of most business problems and research has shown that businesses with leaders who have highly effective communication generate up to 50% better returns than those that don’t.  Leaders who communicate well are able to motivate their teams to increase productivity, which in turn will increase profit.

Good communication starts at the top. It creates the culture in your organisation and how you, as the leader, communicate with others sets the standard for everyone in your business. Your team will follow your example and if they don’t, you can pick them up from a perspective of “that’s not how we do it here – this is the way we do it”.

So here are 5 tips for you to communicate as a highly effective leader to motivate your team.

  1. Be authentically you. The only way you can be perfect is to be you perfectly. So believe in and trust yourself and your intuition and say what is true for you. Your team will love you more if they get to see the real you. Just look at Richard Branson. We all connect in a more fulfilling way when we are authentic to our self and we enjoy the relating more too.
  2. Remember all business relationships are personal. Every business relationship is just two or more people interacting and therefore comes down to inter-personal communication and the relationship between those people. Focus on the inter-personal communication of what is being said and how it is being interpreted with empathy as well as the business objectives.
  3. Don’t let your ego control you. We all have an ego and whilst we need it to define our sense of self, we don’t need it to control how we think and the way we communicate. Our ego tells us we are perfect, which we are not and so will try to prove to everyone that we really are. So if you feel the need to prove how good you are to others, pull back on your ego to get it in check and let go of your need to prove anything about yourself.
  4. Give up your need to be right. It doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong. They are just labels you give. This relates to the last point of not being controlled by your ego. If we accept what is, then we do not need to make someone wrong and we do not need to make ourselves right. It all just is. When we let go of our ego’s need to make ourselves right, there will be far less arguments and many more valuable discussions with open sharing.
  5. Always show empathy and respect. The most successful leaders feel empathy for others and show respect to all others. They are then respected in the same way in return. This means they genuinely care about the people in their teams and they show it in the way they treat them. Empathy involves understanding and showing respect for the other person and communicating with them accordingly. When you do this your teams will follow you with loyalty and support for you too.

So think of these things tips every day and check that you are doing these things in your communication and you will develop loyal and motivated teams that are highly productive.

Janeen Sonsie

Janeen is the founder of Get Real Communication and an international speaker, coach and facilitator who is passionate about how people communicate and relate to each other in all relationships – both business and personal.

For the last 20 years Janeen has been facilitating hands-on workshops with some of the world’s leading companies (such as Cisco, HP, Oracle and Microsoft) in over 10 countries around Asia-Pacific, the UK and the USA helping them improve their communication, relationships and profits.

Janeen is available for business and relationship coaching.

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