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The 2 In Demand Skills for Trusted Advisors in 2024

The 2 In Demand Skills for Trusted Advisors in 2024

Active listening and giving feedback are two of the most quintessential skills professionals, and individuals in general, can cultivate to enhance their relationships across the board. When it comes to interpersonal skills, these two are key to establishing and building trust.

Why Does a Trusted Advisor Need to Establish Trust?

Trust doesn't just happen overnight; it's a product of consistent interaction marked by transparency and reliability. It ties team members together, helping them work collaboratively towards a common goal. And at a more personal level, it’s the foundation upon which long-lasting relationships are built.

Effective communication plays an instrumental role here. It not only helps clear misunderstandings, but also sends out the message that one is keen on understanding their partner's needs and perspectives. Through open and honest communication, relationships can thrive and trust can be cultivated. As a Trusted Advisor, how can you use these two skills to be a better communicator?

The Concept of Active Listening

Active listening is not just about lending an ear to what the other person is saying; it's about fully concentrating, understanding, responding and then remembering what's being said.

It goes without saying that trust is fostered in an environment where one feels understood and acknowledged. Active listening, by nature, communicates to the speaker that their words are important and valued.

For instance, any reputed customer service department is an unbeatable testament to active listening. They ensure that every customer's concerns are listened to meticulously, responded to suitably and remembered for future interactions which builds trust with the customers.

By practicing active listening, one essentially shifts focus from themselves (and their internal dialogue) to the speaker. When you let your clients speak in a position of trust, you get valuable insights from them and are able to provide an informed opinion. Now, you're not just hearing - but actively listening.

The Role of Feedback

Feedback, too, echoes a similar sentiment in trust-building. As important it is to listen, it is equally important to share one's viewpoints and thoughts as well. Feedback, essentially, is the act of constructively conveying one's thoughts. The operative term here is 'constructively'.

A certain degree of trust is expected for anyone to take your feedback seriously. By giving constructive feedback, you demonstrate your interest and investment in the professional growth of your colleague or the strength of your personal relationship.

Take, for instance, how businesses use a customer feedback system - customers trust a business that not only takes their feedback keenly but also acts on it consequently. As a result, not only does the business earn a faithful customer base but also gets to grow and improve via the feedback loop.

We Hear You
Trusted advisor In Demand Skill: Active Listening

How to Use Active Listening and Feedback for Trust Building

Active listening and feedback are two in demand skills that work best when practiced together. Active listening lays down the initial brick of trust – it shows that you care about the other person's thoughts and are present in the conversation. Following that up with thoughtful feedback fortifies the trust, displaying your cognitive engagement and investment in the relationship.

Consider a team meeting where everyone actively listens, understands, responds and remembers each other's inputs and also provides constructive feedback. Needless to say, a work environment like this would be highly productive and would demonstrate high levels of trust among colleagues.

Taking the example of a manager-employee relationship, an employee who feels their views are heard (active listening) and then receives constructive feedback is more likely to trust their manager and be engaged in their work source.

In a B2B situation, a client expressing their concerns who is often interrupted by a sales representative with a barrage of info that doesn’t answer their questions will feel unheard. This may lead them to take their business elsewhere. So how can you avoid this scenario?

Barriers to Active Listening and Giving Feedback

However, there are several barriers to the practice of active listening and giving constructive feedback. Preconceived notions, distractions, lack of patience, and cultural differences may all hinder active listening. And when it comes to giving feedback, our fears of rejection or conflict might hold us back.

These barriers can be overcome with conscious effort and practice. Start with trying to understand the speaker's point of view without jumping to conclusions, eliminating distractions, and actively engaging in the conversation by confirming or asking questions. For providing feedback, remember that positive and constructive criticism is more helpful and acceptable than destructive comments.

In the previous B2B situation, acknowledging the client's issues first and paying close attention to their concerns will encourage them to explain their concerns. You on the other hand will be able to follow up with more questions to pinpoint their problems and be able to provide a solution. This gives clients the confidence to trust you as an advisor.

How to Improve Your Active Listening and Feedback Skills

There are several methods and exercises that can help improve your active listening skills. Here are four ways to practice being an active listener:

  1. Remain unbiased and non-judgmental during the initial stages of a conversation.

  2. Be patient and let the speaker express their full thought before responding appropriately.

  3. While the human mind can be bad at remembering details, being able to repeat key points from your conversation lets the speaker know you were listening.

  4. While it may be different across cultures, conveying non-verbal signs of listening like smiling, eye contact, or slight nodding can be effective.

Planning board full of feedback, an in demand skill in 2024
Trusted advisor In Demand Skill: Giving Feedback

Giving effective feedback, on the other hand, is an art that can be mastered over time. It's important to make your criticism constructive and not personal. An efficient method of delivering feedback is the ‘Sandwich Method’ - starting with a positive statement, followed by the feedback, and ending with another positive statement.

Remember, improving these skills requires patience and effort. Keep practicing and eventually, it will become second nature to you.

Why These 2 Trusted Advisor Skills are In Demand in 2024

Active listening and giving feedback are two interaction skills that greatly contribute to building trust. Whether in a professional environment or in personal relationships, these skills encourage open communication, mutual understanding, and overall result in stronger, more robust relationships.

We all want to be a part of a community where our words and thoughts are heard, understood, and appreciated. So let’s challenge ourselves to actively listen more and provide constructive feedback to those around us. Will you take up this challenge?

Tell us, what has been your experience with active listening and giving feedback? We’d love to hear your stories and insights. Don’t hesitate to share it in the comments with us!

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