This is the only time they’re not talking.
Recently, I’ve been to a number of events where I’d be talking in a small group of people, and the conversation would unexpectedly split into two side convos, leaving me super confused as to which thread I should be following. I realized this was due to one individual literally talking over another person to get their two cents in. Now, I get group dynamics, this often happens in small groups where the conversation ebbs and flows between a larger group and smaller groups. But this seemed different. Rude.
I’m a talker. I have lots of stories, jokes, and snide remarks I’m ready to let rip whenever the mood strikes. But as I get older, I’ve tried really hard to spend more time with my mouth shut and my ears open. What I have to say isn’t necessarily more important (because no one has ever been on fire in any of these situations), and I don’t have to be the center of attention (all the time). I try SUPER HARD to listen to my kids and let them finish their thoughts. Even when the babble is nearly non-stop and usually has to do with Minecraft or a painstaking account of what they ate for lunch. I want them to know that I think what they have to say matters to me. We have also worked to teach them when it’s appropriate to talk, how to say excuse me to interrupt, and why asking 50 questions (How did you learn all that karate? Why do you have a brown belt?) during karate class is disruptive and inconsiderate.
My point is this: in marketing, we worry A LOT about what we’re saying and who is going to hear it. Admittedly, this is how I spend most of my time. I think about tone, delivery, word choice, offerings, calls to action. When it comes to LISTENING, we forget. I forget. Or, perhaps we only listen for things we want to hear—so we can use that in our marketing. (Hello recommendations and positive reviews!)
The first part of our March Madness this month will be about setting up Google Alerts and checking out your online properties. I’d encourage us all to take this a step further and work to listen to our customers and clients and to the people we want as customers and clients. I think we’ll all be surprised by what we hear.