Year-end is the perfect time to reflect on accomplishments achieved and lessons learned over the past year. It’s also an important time to put things into perspective as we turn the page and start a new year.
What We’ve Learned
With so much change in 2020, the opportunities to learn have been abundant. Take a moment and contemplate the following:
- What new skills did you learn this year?
- What topics did you become wiser about?
- What situations have you learned to master?
If you set goals for 2020, which ones did you achieve? Because it was a volatile year, you may have achieved a lot of things that were not planned. Or you may have simply maintained status quo, which is an amazing accomplishment in 2020. Give yourself credit for that.
As we transition to 2021, set new goals to be achieved in your business and personal lives and record the list so you can look back periodically to monitor your progress.
Gain perspective by reflecting and asking yourself these questions:
- What kind of person do I want to be in 2021?
- How do I see myself in five years?
- What can I contribute?
Reflect, plan, and gain perspective as we usher in 2021. And have a Happy New Year!
Now, more than ever before, the act of listening is important. The power of listening—effective listening—will help you get more information from customers, increase their trust and commitment in you, and reduce conflict and misunderstanding.
What It Means to Listen
It is important to point out that the act of listening and actually comprehending what a person is saying can lead to strong, healthy, and thriving relationships—all very important qualities in any type of relationships, specifically a business one.
If you don’t believe us, think about the last time you were having a conversation with someone and felt as if you weren’t being heard. How did that make you feel? How did that affect the relationship? Did it make you feel valued?
According to Dr. Carl Rogers, a psychologist, active listening is a specific communication skill. Giving free and undivided attention to a speaker through active listening is the most effective way to achieve individual change and group development.
Tips on Becoming a Better Listener
If you truly want to become a better listener, then consider implementing these tips into your daily life.
- Understand the Benefits
First, it’s imperative to understand that listening to someone is beneficial to both the person doing the talking and you. Nothing bad or negative comes from listening to another person speak, but the complete opposite. Remember, if you thoroughly listen to an individual, it’s more likely that same individual will listen to you when it becomes your turn to speak. The partnership the two of you are hoping to grow can only be successful with mutual listening.
- Make Eye Contact
Next, when someone is speaking to you, always make eye contact. This tactic not only shows respect, but it will also help you focus on the other person’s words, what he or she is saying and how they feel.
- No Distractions
When sharing a conversation with someone, make sure there are no distractions. Obviously, this means you need to put down your phone and give the speaker your full attention. Don’t worry about what’s going on around you; don’t think about your next meeting or what you plan to have for lunch. Listen, engage, and show the person talking that you care.
- Ask Questions
One of the best ways to show the speaker that you are really listening to them, is to ask them questions. Make sure you fully understand what they’re saying by verifying their wants, needs, and/or concerns with specific questions.
Remember, nothing bad comes from listening—only good. The next time someone is speaking, consider opening up your eyes, ears, and mind just a little bit more. In doing so, you will gain the full benefits of the power of listening.
It goes without saying that 2020 has been quite the year—and it’s not even over yet! Of course, any one of us could easily come up with a long list of every bad occurrence that has taken place since March due to the pandemic. Being grateful can be challenging during times of hardship, and we want to help you achieve the feat.
Below, we’ve put together different techniques to help you see that there are many things to be grateful for, both in our business and personal lives. This is a great time of year – just before Thanksgiving – to stop and practice gratitude.
What Are You Grateful For?
The act of being grateful can lead to experiencing positive emotions. As a matter of fact, if you are experiencing negative emotions and don’t want to, the fastest way to “reset” your physiology is to start thinking of things you are grateful for.
Here are some ideas to help get you started:
Health comes in many various forms; the idea of being healthy can mean something entirely different to two people. Consider what being healthy means to you, and then, if you do think you have your health, try and be grateful for it.
One good thing about the pandemic is that most people are eating more healthful, home-cooked meals and less fast food, and they are feeling better with more energy. People are also watching their weight and even losing excess pounds, especially after some of the initial reports that overweight people were having a harder time fighting Covid-19 than slimmer people.
Friends and Family
Are you surrounded by loved ones? Now, more than ever before, it’s important to be grateful for people who are in your life. You may be facing hardships but think how much more difficult times would be if you were dealing with them by yourself. Be grateful for having someone in your life that you can lean on.
Work and Business
So many people have lost their jobs, their income, their sense of security. If you still have work or your business to keep you busy, focused, and earning a steady paycheck, be grateful. It’s a wonderful exercise to express your gratitude to your customers, coworkers, or employer by writing them a thank you note or leaving them a review on Google My Business, Yelp, their Facebook business page, or their LinkedIn profile as a recommendation.
Similarly, it’s the perfect time of year to ask your customers or employer to leave you a review on one of these digital assets.
Never Stop Being Grateful
Of course, there are plenty of other things to be grateful for in this world; everyone’s list will look different. Perhaps you’re grateful for a pet or something you’ve achieved. Maybe the fact that you have a special skillset or the ability to be patient and understanding during trying times gives you reason to smile.
That’s the thing about being grateful: there is nothing too big or too small to be grateful for; no right or wrong answer. And while it may feel more difficult this year compared to others, you can always find something when you look hard enough.
Regardless of the type of relationship—personal, professional, or even acquaintance—communication is key. Communication is particularly necessary when it comes to customers and building a successful business. It’s even more important this year since many businesses have gone through so many changes. This article will help you achieve better customer communication.
Are You Communicating Properly?
Effective communication helps to ensure your product or service meets the customer’s needs and satisfaction. By meeting these needs and satisfaction, you are potentially generating repeat business. Start by figuring out what your customers are thinking and what questions they might have about your business.
Congratulate yourself if you’ve sent emails or posted notices on your website that answer the following questions:
- Have your hours changed?
- Has your location changed?
- Can you handle drop-in service?
- If so, is there a protocol? For example, do customers call a number when they get to your locked door? Will you be taking their temperature? Is a mask required?
- Is your business by appointment only?
- Then, how do customers make an appointment?
- Do you require a covid-19 test before an appointment can be made?
- Are there special accommodations for at-risk groups?
- Has your contact information changed? With people working at home, phone numbers may have changed.
- Have your services changed?
- Do you deliver?
- Do you offer curbside pick-up?
And this is just pandemic-related. You may have launched new products or services, changed prices, added staff, and implemented many more actions that customers should know about.
Tips on Effective Communicating
Here are some foundational reminders about communicating in business.
Communication starts with a connection. To give the customer what they want, you have to connect with them. If you can connect on a personal level, even better. Regardless, you need to convey to the customers that they—as well as their wants and needs—are important.
Listen to your customer—and listen well. Depending on the customer’s communication, you may have to ask very specific questions to better understand what they want or need. However, intently listening to your customers will allow you to form a better relationship with them.
Not only that, but you can get some great ideas for how to improve or create new products and services so that you fulfill even more of your customers’ wants and needs.
Now that you’re connecting and listening to you customer, make sure you understand them. If you don’t understand what they’re saying, ask them to clarify. This isn’t a guessing game, but a two-sided relationship. To give the customer what they want or need, you must understand what it is they are asking for.
Be completely transparent with your customer. You cannot earn a customer’s trust or loyalty—or repeat business—if you aren’t one hundred percent honest with them. Tell the customer exactly what you can do for them; don’t promise something you can’t deliver.
Make sure you can—and do—deliver exactly what your customer is expecting from you. If you promise to deliver something, whether it’s a service, product, or result, then you need to keep your word. In doing so, you will be laying the brickwork for a successful, long-term relationship.
Communication is one of—if not—the most important skill to have when it comes to connecting with your customers. After all, happy customers will come back.