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It was a Thursday morning; it was like any other morning. As a mum of two primary school aged children, I am normally found rushing around making packed lunches; putting waffles in the toaster and spreading lashings of peanut butter on burnt toast. Then the boys head off to school and I head up to my home office to start my working day.

But this morning was different. Between spoonsful of cereal and rushed sips of stone-cold tea, my 7-year-old calls my name. “Mummy, look, this is the sign for sea turtle”. Now like most mornings, I acknowledge with a nod or a “well done, darling”. But today, today I look over at him and this look of sheer delight emanates from his face as he continues to show me how to sign for sea turtle. Knowing that he has captured my full attention, he then goes on to explain and demonstrate how to sign for shark, whale, dolphin and, finally, jellyfish. Within a minute, me and my two sons are signing away and smiling and laughing together whilst sat at the breakfast table.

At this point, I’m in awe. Wow. I mean wow. It’s amazing really that my 7-year-old has learnt how to use sign language just by listening to an author explain their latest book release during a 15-minute Zoom call at school the day before. And then to apply this learning and demonstrate his understanding to others.

By taking the time to stop and listen, I learnt something new today. I felt inspired. I had at least 3 or 4 conversations about what I learnt, who I had learnt it from and how it made me feel – which is proud to say the very least.

It got me thinking. Listening is an important skill, it’s the key to effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages are easily misunderstood. Active listening allows us to receive, understand and evaluate information that is communicated to us. As marketeers, this is an essential skill. To understand our clients’ needs, we need to hear what they are saying, take it in, digest it and understand it. Marketing is all about communication, after all.

So, we need to take the time. Listen to the right people. Delve deeper. Feel the emotion. Listen with our eyes and ears. Reflect on what we’ve heard.

By taking the time to listen, I learnt something new and invaluable – how to be a better communicator. And how to sign for sea turtle, shark, whale, dolphin and jellyfish…

Take time to listen… you never know what you might learn.

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