You Can Listen Over Email: Here's How!

Courtesy of Clip Art
I focus a lot on face to face interactions but today is about electronic communication. Did you know you can actually "listen" over email?

I was feeling particularly down one night as I realized my "fat" clothes were getting too tight. I was emailing a friend who has a personal styling business. I was trying to get help on figuring out a new look.  After a long rant on how I didn't know where to begin with my new style, I concluded with this statement:

Me: I am winging it and my wings are falling off.

Alexis replied:
I totally understand! Recharging your style when we are not inspired by what's in our closets can be frustrating and no fun.... Having a signature style doesn't have to be a complete head to toe ideal look.
To get started, I'd like to propose an assignment for you. Create 2 pinterest boards based on 2 things: Looks you love and are inspired by and colors you love.....*picks up fallen wings and hands them back to you*...We will work together to make sure you don't have to worry about your wings falling off! :)
My heart melted when I read her response. Here is what she got right and what you can learn from our interaction.

Prove you understand!

When we get an email that expresses distress, either mild or major, we usually reply with a platitude like "I understand" or "I get what your saying". 

Then we go right into something like "...but what I am saying is ..." or " what you need to consider is..." 

If you do that, you are missing a major opportunity. You have to earn the right to speak into people's lives. Your words, advice, counsel, perspective will be more accepted when you have earned it. How do earn that right?

Prove you understand before you demand to be understood. <<Tweet That

What Alexis got right was that after saying she understood, she proved it with her words. Good listeners can identify the thought and feeling in what a speaker is saying. She did that: 

"Recharging our style when we are not inspired...can be frustrating and no fun."

She identified how I was feeling (frustrated) and what circumstance caused those feeling (not being inspired). 

It was particularly helpful because I felt flustered and didn't know why. She helped me find the words that best expressed exactly was happened.

When you  help another in this way, you are proving that you are a business that cares. Think about it. I will forever have a positive emotional memory connected to Brown Pearl Inc because of the way the stylist showed me she cared.

Can your customers, employees, or colleagues say the same about you? 

Listening well will give you more credibility than spoken words. Additionally listening greatly increases the likelihood that your suggestions will actually be considered.

Proving you understand with the words you use. You can do this in person, over the phone, or as Alexis showed us, in email.

Ever have someone who didn't know you well, say something that spoke to you deeply?

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