Two Ears and One Mouth

“So, tell me a little bit more about that if you could.”

In a recent meeting with a client, exploring the messages they wanted their website to communicate to customers, we heard something that piqued our interest. We immediately asked to hear more – to dig deeper into the statement they had just shared – and then we got quiet and listened. It’s one of OrangeBall’s core values… Ask to Listen.

Ask to Listen is based on a deep level of curiosity. That curiosity is a superpower that we have learned to leverage as often as possible. But, unlike many comic book superpowers, it’s not the result of a spider bite or being born on Krypton. Instead, it’s something we have cultivated and strengthened naturally over time, and it has paid massive dividends.

That simple request during our meeting, “Tell me a little more,” led us to some powerful insights about what makes this client’s brand unique and valuable to their customers. Knowledge is power, and with that knowledge in hand, we unlocked a new approach for designing their website and telling their story. Active listening with curiosity was the catalyst that sparked it all.

There are two parts to our Ask to Listen concept. They are simple and immensely challenging at the same time…

First, we ask. We open up the door and invite the person on the other side of the table to share more. We let them know that we want to hear from them, and we ask questions that help guide the conversation. It’s essential as we’re asking that we bring our curiosity with us, as that helps us come up with the right questions – the ones that open doors. Asking is all about bringing good questions to the conversation.

Then, once we ask, we step back and listen. Listening can seem like the easy part, but it is generally the most difficult. As our conversations ebb and flow, a thought will pop into our minds and catch ourselves wanting to share something of our own – we want to talk. At that point, we either interrupt and derail the other person’s train of thought, or even worse, we fixate on what we want to say and completely miss what’s being shared from the other side.

Mom gave us a solid reminder as kids. “You have two ears and one mouth. God made you that way for a reason.” She was right, and her sage advice is powerful when it comes to listening. Use your ears, and train your mouth. Ask curious questions and get comfortable listening. Hear the person you’re talking to – really hear them. Every word. Soak it in and instead of contemplating your next response, think about the next best curious question you can ask – and then listen some more.

Ask to Listen. The next time you’re sitting across the table from someone, in-person or virtually, put this into practice. Make curiosity your superpower, pay attention, and see what happens!

Ready for more?
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