The Gospel of Listening
(A credo originally written by Jerry Panas)
If you’ve read anything I’ve written or heard me at a Seminar, you know the importance I give to the art of listening. It’s the gospel I preach. I consider it the single most powerful ammunition in your arsenal of fundraising skills. Best of all, it’s a talent that can be learned and acquired.
Here are some observations I want to pass on. If you listen carefully, very carefully— you will hear a gift.
- It often shows an extraordinary command of the language to say nothing.
- There’s no greater compliment to a person than by showing a keen interest in them. You do this by listening intently.
- We are blessed with two ears and one mouth– a constant reminder we should listen twice as much as we talk.
- It’s essential to maintain positive eye contact.
- Tilting your head slightly when listening demonstrates interest.
- Probe and ask questions. You do this to gain information and better understanding.
- What should you listen for? The little things. Everything.
- Listen with your eyes.
- Listen with your entire being.
- Smile! It dramatically affects how people respond to you.
- Unless you know what you’re listening for, it may be difficult to know if you have the information you need when you hear it. Prepare carefully before your meeting.
- You don’t listen to respond. You listen to gain information.
- The better you listen, the smarter you get.
- What you don’t know or you don’t find out by asking might hurt you if you don’t probe and listen.
- The better you listen, the more you realize how little you know.
- You will not get the right answer if you don’t ask the right questions.
- When you talk too much, it is hard to remember all you said– and harder still to remember what they said.
- Open questions (How? Why? What? When?) allow the respondent an opportunity to provide a full and revealing answer.
- If you talk more than twenty-five percent of the time, there’s a good chance you will never hear the necessary information. Listen seventy-five percent of the time.
Listen as if you’re hard of hearing.