You Can’t Fake It

We are all guilty. We have all committed the act. And if you are an honest person you can’t really deny it. I am not proud of it, and I certainly wouldn’t encourage others to participate. I know that I have been caught on numerous occasions—just today, as a matter of fact. I do it to my wife, my children, my coworkers, my friends, and even my parents. But hey, it happens. What is it? At one time or another I would guess that you have been caught faking it.

What do I mean by faking it? I mean not giving your complete and total attention to someone who is speaking with you. Sometimes a person can have a 15-minute conversation with me and after it is over, I wonder what were we just talking about. My wife can tell me something about our children and want my opinion, and I have no idea what she just said. A coworker can ask me a question expecting some profound answer and I can’t give one because I don’t know what was said to me. Something even worse: At or near the end of a conversation you are asked a question and you have no idea what the question is or how it should be answered…so you fake it.

If I have learned anything over time it is that when you fake it you will lose 95 percent of the time. You’ll answer the wrong question, give an opinion regarding the wrong subject, or, worst of all, you will have to admit that you weren’t listening—a fate worse than many others because you may be perceived as uncaring, selfish, or just plain rude.

We are all human beings and we are all guilty of communication blunders from time to time. I hope that your friends, family and coworkers are forgiving. However, your customers may not be. Your customers may simply leave, empty-handed, when you are not giving them your complete and undivided attention. The price for not paying attention is a heavy one to bear. Work on giving everyone, including your customers, the attention they deserve. If you practice listening to your family, friends, and coworkers it will become a habit that carries over to your customers. Result: better personal relationships and more sales!

Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is president of IAS Training. He publishes a free weekly newsletter called Sales Insight. For a free subscription or more information on training, contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703,, fax 303-936-9581, or visit the website at