Admittedly, I am not a good listener. I’ve gotten better, in part because I began listening to my own preaching. More and more in coaching sessions, I advise lawyers to listen more than 50% of the time. In fact, more than 80% as they get better at it.
Remember the old saw, since we have two ears and only one mouth, we should listen twice as much as we talk. Why do so few of us remember to follow that advice? Psychologists tell us that the person who talks the most during a meeting is the one who thinks the encounter was the most successful. Wouldn’t it be better to have the client think that. Further, since we already know everything about ourselves, we should spend our time more wisely, by learning as much as we can about the goals, needs and wants of clients and prospective clients.
So, why don’t we listen more? It may be because we think we can “sell” the other person by impressing them with our experience and credentials, when, in fact, most people sell themselves. So, it’s better to sell your capabilities through effective listening and educating a prospect, rather than presenting a litany of accomplishments.
It is better to “ask good questions” according to Allan Colman in a brief video he calls “Let Them Talk.” His point is to engage clients and prospects by utilizing the old IBM 60/40 Rule relating to listening more than you talk. The video is less than 1 minute in length. You really should listen to it.