How to listen well during customer interviews
  2. Discovery Interviews (Step 2)
  3. How to listen well during customer interviews

2. Avoiding listening roadblocks

Any of these 10 roadblocks can seriously damage your interviews.

It’s quite common for us to having listening “roadblocks”… something we do out of habit that prevents good communication. Sadly, we may not even be aware of them… and they can seriously damage a customer interview. Here are some of the more common listening roadblocks. It’s probably worth your time to see if you have any personal ”favorites.”

  1. Rehearsing… You appear interested, but you’re really focused on what you’ll say next. You’re not having a dialogue, but rather a monologue in the presence of a witness.
  2. Identifying… Everything the other person says reminds you of something that happened to you. They mention their recent surgery, and instead of asking them how they’re doing, you launch into a description of your medical condition.
  3. Multi-tasking… You haven’t set aside the time needed for a serious conversation. A good portion of your attention is on your vibrating phone, incoming emails... or your mental gears are grinding away at some deadline or task.
  4. Pre-Judging… Before the conversation begins, you’ve determined that the speaker has nothing worth giving serious thought to. So you don’t.
  5. Interrupting… Before the other person can even finish his or her sentence, you begin talking over them. This is like holding up a sign that says, “I don’t know what you’re going to say, but it can’t be too important, now can it?”
  6. Advising… You are the Great Fixer, and can’t wait to tell the other person how to solve their problem. Of course, while you’re concocting your advice, you’re not listening and probing to get to the heart of the issue.
  7. Debating… You love to take opposing positions. You’ve played the Devil’s Advocate more times than John Wayne’s played a cowboy.
  8. Derailing… You’re either bored or uncomfortable with the topic… so you abruptly change it to suit your interests.
  9. Placating… You half-listen while throwing off half-encouragements… “Right… Absolutely… Uh-huh… I know what you mean… Exactly… Right.”
  10. Dreaming… You’re nodding your head and pretending to listen, but you’ve ‘turned the channel.’ You’re absorbed in your own thoughts and are not exercising the discipline of concentrating on the other person.

For more, see e-Learning Module 11: Listening Skills, at > e-Learning.


Keywords: listening roadblock, rehearsing, identifying, multi-tasking, pre-judging, interrupting, advising, debating, derailing, placating, dreaming