It is not always easy to listen, even if we start doing this with all good intentions. This is why it is worthwhile to learn and practice active listening, an activity that maximizes the understanding of concepts and messages that you hear
We have chosen to propose this theme in a session of the mentorship program we are offering startup members of our community. Marco Imperiale, Lawyer an Innovation Officer at LCA, spoke about active listening.
“In our language, as well as in English, French or Spanish, we use two different terms to define hearing and listening. It is no coincidence that between these two actions there is a big difference “, explains Imperiale reminding us that in school we learn to read, to write, sometimes even to create, but never to listen. “Yet listening is one of the activities that takes most of our time and is also a key element of our working and personal life“.
How important is this for a fintech and how difficult is it to listen? Communication is one of the problems that Imperiale finds most frequently in the startups he meets. “It is difficult to find startuppers who are used to putting themselves in the shoes of others or who consider listening as a key point in the success of their business. Misunderstanding is very frequent “according to our mentor.
Lack of listening can create problems both within a startup, in the team, and outside, in relationships with investors or customers, for example. Instead of blaming others, as is often common to do, Imperiale explains that we must think that “ten people receive the same message in ten different ways so it’s up to us to intervene by improving our way of listening and becoming better communicators”.
Here are three exercises to get straight to work and become “active listeners”.
- Starting from the basics, then learning over time to synthesize, paraphrase and repeat a speech or concept.
- Learn not to interrupt and focus on those who are talking avoiding external stimuli (mobile phones, email, etc.)
- Manage body language in a way that is consistent with our way of thinking.
Confronted with the topic of listening, the startups involved in the session immediately understood the importance and, above all, the impact it could have on their daily activities. Here are some comments, after a morning of “active listening”.
“Listening is a fundamental part of a business. Without doubt all the advice received today will help me better understand the needs of our customers “. (Paola Pacchiana – Europass)
“Meeting the Walliance investors on a daily basis and knowing how to correctly interpret their requests is the key to success. Thanks to the tools that Marco has made available to me I have been able to identify the errors that are unknowingly made in a dialogue “with the other person. I understood that, with dedication and perseverance, one can greatly improve one’s listening skills. At every level”. (Leonardo Grechi – Walliance)
“With the techniques we have learnt we are able to improve our communication and value proposition and I am convinced this initiative will help us to bring SalaryFits into the Italian market as soon as possible”. (Moacir Giansante – SalaryFits)
“I was struck by the quality of the teacher and the number of participants, that were suitable for an interactive session, but I was also struck by the choice of a “difficult” topic. Listening is a very important topic for everyone’s activities but is often dealt with in a trivial way. I found the session of the highest quality, much higher than the typical educational offer “. (Christian Miccoli – Conio)
“In this meeting, it was very clear how difficult listening is, due to” technological “and cultural distractions. I learned that listening is hearing what has not been said. In fact, there is a non-verbal, emotional language that can be “heard” only if real empathy is created and if there is enough openness to “learn”. (Francesco Viceconti and Nunzia Russo – Metoda)
“It was an acute and practical mentorship session; to be aware that we only listen to what we already know, is the first step to understand and actively listen to our interlocutors: all of us”. (Mattia Zara – GaiaGO)
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