Event planners are sometimes like consultants - solving problems is what they do. So when a client runs into unforeseen issues, it is second nature to jump in and ‘fix the situation’.
It turns out that just listening, is a key element of problem-solving.
At first this may sound strange because listening doesn't materially change anything. A good listener discovers the underlying symptoms causing the problem to get to the root of why the client is upset.
Some fear that listening is agreeing, but managing expectations will never force you to take any particular action. In fact it will reduce your client's insistence that you take a specific action, if they feel you've really heard them.
There's no question that it's hard to really listen and here are three ways in which you can listen in a manner that transforms your relationships:
Focus and actually listen
Simply focus on what the other person is saying. Don’t get distracted by anything or anyone other then the person who is speaking. Never multi-task, or even try to contemplate about what you're going to say next.
Tell them what you heard them say
Put simply, repeat back what you heard. This may feel a little disingenuous at first but it shows you're listening. It turns out that is is also a great way to communicate to the other person that they have been heard.
Asking questions will give you the opportunity to explore the other person's thoughts and feelings more deeply. Sometimes in an effort to make people feel better, we end up arguing with them because we're contradicting what they're feeling. Which inevitably, makes them feel worse. Asking the right questions helps you better understand what's going on.
Next time try these tips and you'll realize why listening can be like magic!