Is Anybody Listening to Me?
Traci Wood; Account Executive
The first of July marks one of my favorite times of the year….Girl’s Week! You see, my Son and Husband are away for 8 days at Boy Scout camp in Wyoming. And my daughter and I find ourselves with an entire week of playing, laughing, staying up late watching chick-flicks, eating chocolate cake for dinner, and basically doing whatever we want. It’s just the two of us, and we love it!
My relationship with my daughter is wonderful; she is amazing (that’s not a biased statement, just a Mother’s knowledge of her own child’s awesomeness). However, she is also very much like me…perhaps too much like me in a few ways (including, but not limited to stubbornness and an unyielding need to be right). I always tell her, “You’re me, just shorter”. We butt heads over a few issues including whether or not she can wear makeup (I say No as she is only 9), what shoes to buy, the length of her shorts & skirts, whether or not she will be getting a cell phone (again I say No as she is only 9), and especially what activities her and her friends can and cannot do. She is simply at that strange age when she still loves being a child and doing childhood ‘things’, but longs to do the ‘things’ the older kids are doing. It can be hard to be 9. It can be hard to be the Mother of someone who is 9.
The two of us went to dinner and a movie the other night and saw the new Disney Pixar movie, Brave. It was incredible as are all Disney Pixar movies in my opinion (except Wall-E). But, it was the theme of the movie that truly hit home for me – the special relationship between a Mother and a Daughter. I kept finding myself just staring at my daughter and smiling. In the beginning of the movie, it becomes apparent that the Mother has a plan for her daughter’s life and expects her daughter to live according to the plan and the long established set of rules that accompany that plan, without fail. The daughter has other ideas, however. She is a strong and free spirit. In a wonderfully choreographed scene the two argue over their own points of view, why they feel as they do, and express their desire to have the other person just listen to them. You soon realize that the two characters are talking to themselves in different parts of the castle rather than actually speaking to each other. And although the two are not in the same room while they are expressing their feelings, the sentiment is the same from both of them. They just want to express their feelings and truly be listened to, heard, and have the other person act on what they just heard.
I’ve had this exact style argument with my daughter, and am willing to bet that every Mother and Daughter team has as well. But this form of listening does no good…because no one is listening.
Listening is one of the most important components of communication. However, listening to what a client or customer has to say means nothing unless your company is able and willing to act upon what they have just heard. You must be willing to truly listen to what is being said, understand the sentiment and reasons behind the statement, and act upon it. Listening requires engaging, and vice versa.
Social media listening only provides one piece of a puzzle. Understanding sentiment, text analytics and engagement are a few of the other necessary pieces. Clients and customers want to be heard….that’s why they are expressing their opinions in the social media arena. Good or bad. It is up to you to listen, understand, and respond – and the best way to begin this process is with social media research. Don’t just listen, truly hear and understand what is being said. And then act upon what you have heard and learned in a way that will help your customers, your clients, and ultimately your company. It’s funny, but according to that advice perhaps I should use Focalytic to help me listen to and understand my daughter. Because if 9 is hard…how is 15 going to be?