At first it can be a little bit surprising to face a consultant who asks a few questions and doesn't talk much. We are taking notes and working at gaining the best understanding possible. The word "LISTEN" is made up of the same letters as the word "SILENT": they go together! It's difficult to talk and speak at the same time. You need to think about what you want to say while at the same time you need to think about what the other person said... Gold star to you if you can do that. I can listen to every word my wife says and repeat them word for word. But listening and talking at the same time... That is one super power I do not possess.
What is great about an active listener is that: 1) you don't need to repeat yourself; 2) if there is a need for clarification, the active listener will ask on the spot to ensure proper comprehension; and, perhaps the most important thing, 3) you won't hear the question: "what was the question again?" Ever. All this makes meetings and workshops pleasant, quick and productive.
Active listeners tend to be more engaged in the discussion. They are keen to learn by understanding everything that is shared and they keep an open mind. While we have a long-standing experience, this keeps us open to a different way of doing things, especially if this leads to a greater comfort in how the project will be carried out and how it will affect the timeline and the people involved. Rather than coming across as imposing a canned solution, we find an acceptable compromise where everyone comes out of it happy. We get to do what we do best and you (and your organization) get to see things done your way.
Now, this is not to say that we'll come into a project and be as silent as the day gives way to night. Quite the contrary: when it's time to explain matters, conduct a workshop, share our expertise or point out facts, we'll be quite talkative. But I'm sure you'll like the fact that we took the time to listen before doing all that talking.
You might have expected this article to be technical. If you feel like I wasn't technical enough, then let me close by correcting this. When listening to you, we'll apply the least possible amount of muscular force to our mouth, resulting in a sound level of zero decibels. We will be focusing instead this mouth energy to our ears. This is because, for most people, there is a communication ratio of 2:1 (ears : tongue), also known as the golden ratio. For greater success, it makes more sense to use twice as much our ears than our mouth. Perhaps that's why we have two?!