When we do understand what the word means, we too often pretend that we don’t understand.
And when we’re too old to pretend we don’t understand, we try to keep up the charade.
And THEN when we get really old (even if our hearing still is intact), we pretend we cannot hear – like my grandmother’s “selective hearing”.
As a moderator for The Pert Group, I’m a professional listener. Even for an “expert listener,” that skill doesn’t always present itself outside of a work environment.
My dad is really good about telling my sister and me things again and again. But that doesn’t mean we always pay attention. One of the things that he’s told me since the day I first put keys into an ignition was to fill my gas tank when it reaches 1/2 full (or half empty, depending on your disposition).
Maybe because of the million times I’ve heard that warning, I’m one to find out just how long the car can go after that little orange light comes on. So it really shouldn’t have been a surprise when I was turning the corner one day and felt my car lock up.
Stop. Couldn’t. Move. Whoops.
There I was sitting on the curb texting every friend that lived in a 20 mile radius and calling the motor club. As I waited a long 60 minutes for help, after I had texted everyone I could think of, after I checked all of my Twitter and Facebook updates, after I had nothing else to do but think, I sat and listened. And I could hear my dad telling me about the gas and I realized how hard it can be to truly listen to the things we hear every day.
Market research is all about listening. It’s about listening to your internal research team, it’s about listening to your research partner, and it’s about listening to your consumer. It’s about taking a step back and listening to the things you’ve heard before – again.
Don’t just ask your customers – listen to their answers.
And if you don’t? Well, you might be out of gas, sitting on the curb waiting, while everyone else moves right along with their day.
Are you listening?