Listening is a powerful and creative force. It unites people and can be a catalyst for change and growth. To truly listen is to understand and empathise with another person. When we are listened to, we learn to trust – both ourselves and the person we’re speaking to. Yet, in today’s frantic and overstimulated world, listening is becoming something of a lost art.
While we hear the words when being spoken to and focus on maintaining eye contact, dozens of other thoughts whizz through our minds, fighting for attention. Listening takes real effort, but like all efforts it has its rewards.
At FleishmanHillard Fishburn (FHF), we’re committed to listening. How else can we know what makes our staff tick, and what makes them enjoy their work? Our #LISTENINGFACE campaign is about giving people the opportunity to tell us what makes them happy, what motivates them, inspires them and the ideas they have.
You never know when you might get heard
For Andy Jones who started his career with FHF as an office administrator and is now the company’s marketing manager, a chance conversation with FHF CEO Jim Donaldson led to an entirely new career path: "Jim recalled the exact sentence I had spoken to him four months prior about wanting to move into something more creative. I'd completely forgotten about it but Jim hadn't. I've never felt that listened to in my career before."
Sharing why listening has become a lost art Andy says: "I think listening has got increasingly harder in the age of technology. Whether it’s due to our attention spans halving or having a device that can provide an untold number of distractions it’s never been more challenging to listen."
Tracey Nugent, Associate Director at FHF found that listening made all the difference after she returned to work after a ten-year hiatus to raise a family. Initially finding it difficult to get up to speed with every development over the last decade, she simply spoke to her line manager – who listened, and paired her up with a reverse mentor: "It was a revelation. It’s when I knew the company was really listening to me. They weren’t putting me into the box of ‘busy working mum’ but rather someone with big potential who needed a support network."
For her, working in a supportive environment is what turns good work, into great work: "The benefit of an agency is we have people who excel at different skills, all under one roof. By listening to each other and using each other’s strengths, we produce better work for our clients and become better at our own jobs."
Account manager Awel Gheddai highlights his experiences at FHF, saying: "the team have pushed me to regain an almost perfect symbiotic balance between my profession and personality. When there is a major roadblock, you are guided to the solution instead of being taken to the end point. The team always answers any question, at any time and are there for each other through the highs and lows. People here will undoubtedly take a moment, and instead of waiting their turn to speak, actually say things that matter to you as a prospect, client, or just a person both in the office and outside of it as well."
We’re all ears
It’s far from rocket science – in fact its one of the most basic human senses, yet in some ways the modern age made listening more difficult. It’s time to bring back the basics. More than just a campaign drive, the #LISTENINGFACE initiative at FHF is more like a lifestyle change – an investment into the company through its people and their passions. Every initiative has been crafted with individual passions and diverse interests in mind. We believe this is what makes the difference between good work, and great work.
So the next time someone talks to you and your mind wanders over to plans for dinner or transport routes, take a moment to really listen – you may be surprised at what you actually hear.