Have you ever noticed how many people are just not very good at listening?
They mean well. They’re even interested in what you have to say. But you can see, as you’re speaking, that they’ve started formulating their response even before you’ve made your critical point.
The truth is, we all do that sometimes. Listening takes practice. It takes mindfulness (which is really another word for discipline). And it takes curiosity.
Not surprisingly… those are all traits that the very best writers cultivate. Practice. Discipline. Curiosity.
And it’s no coincidence that the traits it takes to be a good writer are also the traits it takes to be a good listener… because being a good listener is another trait writers tend to share.
If you aren’t certain about your own listening skills, not to worry.
You can become a better listener in just a few simple steps…
First, stop worrying about making your own point when someone else is making theirs. Instead, challenge yourself to really understand their meaning.
Second, ask more clarifying questions. When someone finishes speaking, instead of launching into your own take on the topic, ask them a question to get more detail about what they were saying.
Third, summarize what you hear. When you do, one of three things will happen. Either they’ll confirm you understood them. Or they’ll offer a correction if your understanding was a little off. Or they’ll realize what they said isn’t actually what they meant, and they’ll correct their own position.
When having a conversation, if you listen with the intent to understand, ask clarifying questions, and summarize what you hear, you’ll find yourself learning a lot about the person you’re talking to. If that person is a client or a member of your audience, it’s going to make your writing oh-so-much stronger.
And if the person is a friend or family member, it’s going to do good things for your relationships.
Start practicing your listening skills in a deliberate way, and I’m willing to bet you’ll see more success this year because of it.
Announcement — Don’t Forget the Challenge!
Are you participating in the Wealthy Web Writer End-of-the-Year Challenge? It’s a fun one that will help put you in high gear for 2019. You still have time to get in on the action… and there are some pretty cool prizes on the line. Check out the details here.
New on the Site
How would you reply if someone were to ask you, “What is your most important secret for copywriting success?” John Torre shares his answer to that question… and it might not be what you think… Check it out.
Do you have limiting beliefs? Most of us do. In her penultimate Reality Blog, Tracy Wilson shares the story of someone without limiting beliefs to illustrate how far you can go when you just believe in yourself… and she gives some tips for letting go of the beliefs that hold you back. This is an inspiring read for this time of year.
Prospecting can be time-consuming. It’s necessary to grow your business but spending more time on it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting better results. You need a way to qualify your prospects so you have the best chance of getting a response. In this piece by Kim Weitkamp, you’ll find a simple system to improve your prospect outreach.
Mark Your Calendar
Our next Member Update is just around the corner. It’s tentatively planned for Friday, January 11th. During this live webinar, I’ll give you some ideas for low-stress ways to land new clients… plus we’ll talk about what’s new on the site and what to expect during January. We’ll wrap up with a live Q&A. I hope you’ll be able to join me!
Around the Web
Do you have trouble staying organized as a writer? Keeping track of ideas… organizing your research notes… staying focused… it’s a lot. Here are some tips to help.
Content Marketing Institute lays out a plan for your content marketing success in 2019.
Want to get more eyes on your email messages? This list of successful subject lines is perfect for inspiration.
Do you use social media for marketing? If yes, make sure you’re up-to-date on the trends to watch for 2019.
That’s all for now. I want to wish you a truly happy, surprising, delightful, and successful New Year. Here’s to making 2019 the Best. Year. Ever!