Change Bad Habits to Improve Client Communication

Do you have all the communication skills you need to ensure that every interaction you engage in leads to a new client? Do you have a method and mindset that proactively positions you for positive results from every encounter with clients, suppliers, and peers? Do you have an in-depth understanding of how conscious communication can change your life? If you answered NO to any of these questions, we invite you to an amazing session to help you change your answer.

The Travel Institute and Travel Industry Solutions are pleased to sponsor nationally renowned coach and trainer Jamie Miller for a FREE power session: Art of Conscious Communication on April 6 at 11:00 am (EDT).

During this session, Jamie will help you gain simple skills you can leverage to:

  • Learn what your clients value most about you.
  • Garner client buy-in for your new planning fees.
  • Overcome price objections with confidence.
  • Communicate effectively with your new clients about your services.
  • Ask questions that will change everything.

As travel returns, it’s important to refresh old skills. For continued in-depth learning on improving your communication and interpersonal skills, enroll in The Travel Institute’s CTA® program. The following is an excerpt from the CTA’s Art of Listening and Communicating module.

Typical travel professionals spend nearly half their day listening, even more than speaking or writing. Despite the importance of listening in the workplace, most people are poor listeners, but that behavior can be changed. Understanding negative listening habits can be useful as you strive to overcome your own shortcomings in the listening process.

Poor Listening Habits

There are several behaviors that act as barriers to effective listening. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Dismissing messages too quickly A common habit among poor listeners is to prematurely dismiss the importance or accuracy of messages based on the listener’s perception of the speakers. If you tend to tune out messages because you don’t like the speakers or believe they have nothing worthwhile to say, you could be missing valuable information.
  • Criticizing speakers When you negatively judge speakers, it’s easy to criticize them instead of listening to their message. When you concentrate on organization of ideas or speakers’ general styles, you do not permit yourself to gain new insights or understanding.
  • Interrupting or finishing sentences Poor listeners often interject comments and opinions before a speaker has finished. This is rude and prevents listeners from understanding the speaker’s meaning and then responding appropriately. If you find yourself talking more than listening during most conversations, remember that silence is an important part of good listening.
  • Daydreaming Listeners can process words more quickly than speakers deliver them. This gap between listening capability and verbal delivery contributes to daydreaming because listeners are ahead of speakers. Be aware of this built-in tendency and use your thought speed to guess where the speaker is heading.
  • Providing little or no feedback Without feedback, speakers are left wondering about your level of understanding, agreement, or support of their message. Effective listeners periodically check for understanding by paraphrasing or asking questions; on the telephone, it’s especially important to communicate your support and interest by providing verbal feedback.
  • Faking attention Unfortunately, many of us learned as children in the classroom how to fake attention when we weren’t really listening. An occasional nod of the head, and you had everyone fooled. While you may not be expending as much energy as if you were truly listening, in the end you actually may have to work harder because you missed important information.
  • Yielding to distractions One of the most common barriers to effective listening in the travel workplace is the presence of distractions—mounds of paperwork, clients calling, etc. Such physical distractions make it difficult enough to listen, but we also deal with the mental distractions we carry from home to work each morning. Letting these distractions interfere with our listening efforts sometimes is unavoidable, but truly effective listeners learn how to tune out the noise and tune in to the speaker.
  • Not taking notes or trying to write down everything When appropriate, taking notes can be an effective way to help you focus on messages. However, agents who don’t take notes when they should (“I’ll remember your special requests.”) or who try to write everything down (“Hold on, I’m still on your last sentence. What did you say after that?”) simply will not be able to effectively listen for key points.
  • Jumping to conclusions When we feel the urge to interrupt speakers before they’ve completed their thoughts, we often have jumped to a quick conclusion. Perhaps you assume you know what the speaker will say, or you have heard a word or idea that has triggered a defensive response. In either case, you can keep yourself from jumping to conclusions by letting speakers finish before you say anything.

Your interpersonal skills won’t improve overnight, but they will improve. Just take it one bad habit at a time!