One of the greatest lessons in life is to listen with the intent to understand what is being said, instead of just listening to respond. The best way to listen is with your mouth shut. If you’re talking, you’re not listening! Think about it, the word listen and the word silent are spelled with the same letters! In order to be a good listener, we first need to learn how to be silent.
While you’re listening, pay attention to how what you hear affects you, not what you think about it, but how you are personally affected.
Before you respond
When it’s time to respond, consider your intention before you speak. Whose needs are you meeting? Are you trying to look smart or to be appreciated? Or is your intention genuinely to support the other person and to share your sense of connection?
We have all had those moments, when you walk away from a conversation then realise you cannot remember what the person said, wanted you to understand or wanted you to do!
How do we stop thinking while listening? If you want to be an outstanding listener, it’s difficult to do that while you’re constantly thinking about the next response.
Communication is something so simple yet so difficult to achieve. There might be times where you share your issues with someone but you felt that they do not understand you. Worst still, they reply whatever they feel. That happens because they are purely hearing your issues rather than listening to them. That is one of the issues these days. Listen to them, give them your full attention and when you listen you will know what to reply.
If nature gave us ears, it was not just so that we could hear but so that we can also learn to listen. We listen with autopilot on and with habits we have acquired where we do not want others to convince us of things we supposedly already know. We often limit our ability to listen to that which selectively confirms our beliefs.
Here are tips that you can apply to become more active in listening:
Tune out distractions.
STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN!
We need to train ourselves to do this when we listen!
STOP whatever you are doing and pay attention to the details.
LOOK at the person in the eye, watch for non-verbal communication. Slow down and be fully present in the moment.
LISTEN It can be tempting to think about how you are going to reply while the person is speaking, but listening is not just waiting for your turn to speak.
Do not interrupt or derail the person when they are speaking. Be respectful, let them finish their thoughts.
Take an interest in what the person is saying.
Don’t jump from “hear” to “respond” without ensuring you fully understand the situation or issue.
First reflect on what has been said, and then answer.
Wait for a response, don’t feel that you have to fill the space.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. – DR. STEPHEN R. COVEY
What drives me to be the best Virtual Assistant I can be
I’ve studied logistics for 4 years. During that time, I already knew that I loved project and production management and knew what I wanted to achieve in life…… the goal was to work for myself on my own terms in this field. While growing as student and young adult, I formulated the specifics of my goals. I became driven to provide client satisfaction and problem-solving methods to my clients so that they don’t have to deal with it themselves. I wanted to add value in such a way that clients should feel I am right there beside them, loving their product just as much. And them feeling satisfied with work delivered that they know they cannot do it without me.
I always wanted to have the luxury of a great home, amazing family, and being my own boss, but having all of this meant long days and sometimes nights and missing family time. I’ve always kept one thing in mind when the going gets tough, and it’s to succeed, building toward achieving my goals and having my own business. Easier said than done. I’ve learned so much in the time being a Virtual Assistant that the qualities expected of me isn’t always the easiest:
Updating your client on work progress and reporting back when work is expected, answering emails and calls. It does not always have to be straight away but as soon as possible. Being professional in every matter even if you feel you want to shout!
Good communication skills
Try to meet work progress and timelines at all time. If you know you cannot deliver on time, update your client.
Working for multiple clients at once isn’t always easy but setting a good time schedule that works for all is essential. Use apps available to you to manage this effectively.
Go the extra mile to succeed in the success of your business. There will be expected of you to do tasks that you would rather someone else do. But this makes your client look up, notice and see.
Always stay professional even if you have a difficult client. The way you talk, and act plays a big role in how you present your business. Your business is you. How you treat anyone in life is how you will treat your client. If you lack this skill, start immediately with courses. This is probably one of the biggest money adding value next to sales in your business. If you feel upset, take time to cool down and only then respond.
Providing the best work and keeping your eyes on goals can sometimes feel drained. When feeling like this, do something that relaxes you. Keeping your mindset positive and ticking off your achievements will feel like winning all the time. Balance is not always possible in this line of work but burning out has never helped anyone either. Sometimes you will meet people saying it is not worth it…but these are the people usually sitting in a job that frustrate them. At least I am doing something that I would love to do over weekends. Probably why I can work for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week and still be motivated.
Being able to do whatever is expected and being able to do the work that you have never done before is always a challenge, and ALWAYS rewarding. Never have I thought I would like to do tasks required from Personal Assistants. I am terrible at being a PA. And yet, my client always treated me with respect and consideration when I made mistakes. That said, now I love handling tasks that are out of my comfort zone. Just imagine this, I have not moved to a new house in the last 14years, and last month I planned a move in 2 days, in another country!!!!! And guess what, I freaked out and thought it impossible, but I made it happen. So yes ladies, you can do it if you put your mind to it.
To bring it all together
Working, Building and learning to be a Virtual Assistant helped me understand what it was that I needed to do to have a successful business. These goals became my life lessons: Delivering quality work and excelling in my performance to become the best in what I’m doing. Setting my goals and working towards it, creating my own values and expectations of what it means to be a Virtual Assistant. Being confident when dealing with clients. Overcoming obstacles that might have been mountains in front of me but going through it meant yet another option to learn every step of the way. Mind over matter!