Are You Listening?

Posted: March 3, 2013 in Between A Rock And A Hardscape

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If you ask the average person to list the different forms of communication, chances are you will get answers like speaking, writing, and even body language. But you will rarely hear listening near the top of that list. Sometimes, people even forget it is a form of communication.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

There are a million self-help books, speakers and courses designed to help us be better speakers but very few to help us when we are on the other end of that communication.

Everyone wants to be heard, so here’s a few tips how contractors can improve their listening skills:

1. Make Time To Listen To Your Employees

Let’s face it, you pay your crews to excavate, build retaining walls and lay pavers. Not to sit around and chat. So take a few minutes at lunch time or during a morning or afternoon coffee break to talk to them. Find out more about them, ask them how they feel the project is going, or ask their opinion on some new equipment you are considering purchasing.

Finding good employees is always one of the hardest tasks any Hardscape contractor will perform. Do everything you can to retain them by showing them you care enough to hear what they have to say.

2. Create Ways To Listen To Your Customers

It’s a habit we all fall into from time to time. We sit down with our customers and decide to tell them every last bit of knowledge we have gained over the years. Problem is, we haven’t found out anything about them or their dreams for the project because we’ve been too busy talking.

You automatically increase your listening time by asking questions, preferably ones that start with a “W”, as in who, what, when, where and why. If you understand their vision, they are more likely to hire you.

3. Understand How To Listen To Your Suppliers

Your landscape suppliers have many ways to communicate with you; phone calls, text messages, email, Twitter, Facebook, seminars etc. But not all of them have a message that is important.

Choose the suppliers whose content is meaningful and then find out the different ways they broadcast this information. Decide wisely who to listen to because good people can have a positive impact on your company.

The hardest step in better listening is the first one: to do it on purpose. Make the effort to actually be good at it. You’ll be amazed at what you will hear.

Happy Hardscaping!

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