Communication skills: listening, summarizing, asking questions

You don’t just get satisfied customers. In addition to a good product, the way in which you communicate with customers is crucial in the difference between satisfied and dissatisfied customers. As an addition to my article customer friendliness tips: customer focus and customer satisfaction you will find below tips to learn how to listen, summarize, keep asking questions and other communication skills.

LSD: Listening, Summarizing, Questioning
Very often we make our own interpretation of what we think someone else says, think or means. Although well meant, this often leads to miscommunication and / or irritation.

LSD is the abbreviation that stands for Listening, Summarizing and Questioning. Whether you are a coach or a butcher, you are in a relationship, or need to conduct an assessment interview, you improve communication with the other person by listening carefully, summarizing and asking questions.

Good listening is more difficult than it initially seems. If you are able to listen to what someone else is saying you are able to understand what he or she really means. You do this by listening to the words being spoken, the intonation of the voice and paying attention to the body language. This means that you open yourself to listen fully and consciously to what the other person is saying.

This also means that you give the other person sufficient time and space to talk. Few people like to listen to someone else’s monologue.

We often listen to the other with the intention of taking over the conversation as quickly as possible without waiting and listening until the other is spoken. Without first listening and understanding what the other person means, it is very difficult to add something meaningful to a conversation. You really just want to control the conversation and express your own point of view, not listen to someone else’s. Communication is a two-way street. Listening is just as important as speaking. Try to understand first, only then to be understood.

To summarize
Summarizing is just as important as listening. By giving back what someone else has said in your own words, you can check whether you have understood. Do not make this summary too long, a word or a single sentence is often enough. it’s about the core. “If I understand correctly, you mean … ..” or “You want … …?”

The essence can often be summarized with one word. If you have listened carefully, by repeating only this word, you can summarize the essence of the story. You can therefore summarize a story about customer friendliness with the word “customer friendliness”.

Continue asking
You don’t get there with understanding alone. Being able to keep asking questions is an art that can be learned happily. Often there is more behind the “why” people want something. By asking further questions you can get to the core: What a person really moves, what he really wants and why it is so important to him.

Ask open questions
Ask many open questions at the beginning of the conversation. These are sentences that start with WHO, WHAT, WHERE and HOW. This makes your conversation partner feel better understood and you invite him to tell his own story. Moreover, you avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication for yourself to fill in the thoughts of the other.

Later in the conversation, when you want to go to a completion you can ask more closed questions. Closed questions are questions that can be answered with YES or NO.

As far as possible, avoid using the word WHY. “Why?” Can come across as very judgmental, which will make your conversation partner less open. WHY is also good to replace with the words WHO, WHAT, WHERE and HOW. Note the difference between “Why do you want this?” And “What makes you want this?”

Don’t forget yourself
A good conversation is a two-way street where both conversation partners communicate with each other on an equal level. So pay attention to your own assertiveness, especially if you are modest about yourself, and don’t forget to tell what you want.

Be clear
Although your communication skills are still so good, no one has ever learned of a vague story. So be clear and as specific as possible and pay attention to your LSD (Listening, Summarizing, Questioning further). Repeat the agreements that you have made and let the other person confirm this. This prevents mistakes.

You can learn communication skills
Communication skills are easy to learn. With the above tips you will be well on your way. It is important that you not only read them but also get to work with them. By practicing, and occasionally making a mistake, you learn the most.