by Susan Elmore
Building connection – between our clients and their audiences, between their objectives and our expertise, between their stories and the media interested in telling them – is what compelled me to start Elmore Public Relations more than 28 years ago.
Fostering connection is a powerful tool in storytelling. And it is through thoughtful, empathetic listening that I have found connection is most deeply made. Listening – moreover, active listening – is so important to me and my practice that it has become a core value of Elmore PR and the cornerstone of our success.
I am passionate about training our team to be expert active listeners. Whether with a colleague, a client, or a reporter, when we listen empathetically, we communicate effectively.
Universally and fundamentally, people want to feel heard and acknowledged. Active listening is reciprocal listening; it is how we honor a speaker’s reality to propel us toward a common goal.
Active listening requires one to:
- Come to a conversation with no assumptions and a mind clear of distractions;
- Focus on the speaker;
- Acknowledge and repeat back what you have heard to clarify or validate. (This is where our clients hear us respond with, “What I heard you say is…”);
- Allow the speaker to correct or add;
- Finally, show empathy and recognition of the speaker’s position.
Once a speaker feels their perspective has been understood, they are much more inclined to work collaboratively toward a solution, agreement, understanding, or resolution.
At Elmore PR, active listening is the tool by which clarity is attained, trust is built, relationships are forged, and tangible results are achieved. Win, win, win, win.