5 Listening Stages to be a Better Advisor

December 8, 2021 | Written by NGI revised and edited by Samuel Newland CFP

Most people mistakenly feel they are good listeners due to their overconfidence. Being overconfident in your listening skills impedes you from fully understanding your client’s motivations.

Poor listening puts a relationship in jeopardy faster than anything else. Whether you’re talking to your partner, mentor, employee, or colleague, it doesn’t matter. One of the most uncomfortable and embarrassing situations is to try to convince someone that you are listening when you are not.

If you are one of those overconfident listeners you won’t be able to get the results you want if you continue like that, especially because so much information is nonverbal and encapsulated in bodily syntax and delivery.

In this article, we will explain the 5 stages to be a better listener, so next time you are meeting up with a client, you will be able to catch more than just the obvious.

1: Intermittent listening

This is the initial degree of listening. You are only listening long enough to get the idea of what the other side is saying. When you’ve got the essence of it, you stop listening and concentrate on your internal voice, which is crafting a response based on your own beliefs.

Without verbally expressing it, you are having an internal debate about how what’s being stated contradicts your reasoning.

2: Listening to Refute

In this stage, you are listening long enough to comprehend the incoming message, but only until you catch a trigger (i.e., something in the statement or phrase that you can debate against or refute.

When this happens, all you have to do is wait for the other side to stop talking for you to explain why their viewpoint is flawed and, as a result, how much wiser you are than they are.

These passionate responses jeopardize communication and the relationship as a whole. Interjecting with a fast remark shows that you are not paying attention. How could you possibly be? At this level, it’s clear that you’re more concerned with your own agenda than with theirs.

3: Interpretation

Interpretation is used at the third degree to try to understand and discover the internal meaning of what is being said. It is the first step in fully comprehending your clients.

Why does it make sense to them if this is the other side’s perspective, result, or discernment?

We encourage you to listen respectfully and carefully to ask powerful questions to your clients if their ideas are not clear to you, try to not interrupt them, and if it makes things easier for you take notes on ideas that need clarification.

4: Looking for Emotions

At this stage, you are listening to find any hiding feelings or difficulties that could be motivating your client’s argument. It is possible that you don’t fully understand these feelings or concerns. However, when your clients explain what’s essential to them, you understand their significance.

We recommend that whenever it’s your turn to speak, you tag their unspoken emotions or the difficulties that you think are affecting their decisions.

For example, if your client reacts wholeheartedly to your comment, you can answer something like, “It appears that you’re really passionate about this proposal,” in the wish that they would disclose more useful information that could help you guide the conversation to a final yes from their side.

5: Focusing on your clients Perspective

It truly is the last stage to master listening skills, when you listen to what your client’s reasoning says about who they are in the world, and you try to be extra empathetic to see things from their point of view.

This communication ability is about how you interpret your client’s emotion and reasoning via an empathetic lens, and it’s something you should seek every time you sit down to negotiate or converse with someone else. Using this ability will make you an excellent listener, the impact will go beyond your business, it is also a very useful tool in all your interactions.

Simply said, if you don’t comprehend your clients’ perspectives, you will never be able to persuade them. Though maintaining this level of hearing every waking second of every day is challenging, you must be ready and prepared to do it when it is the right moment. We highly encourage you to evaluate your listening skills and improve them.

To read more about more Negotiation Tips to Master Insurance Conversations, click here.

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  • Have any specific questions about the concepts or ideas in this article series or do not think it would be a bad idea to learn more about how to have better conversations
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