Steven Riggs, Managing Partner and Chief Listening Officer

January 16, 2021

RCG joyously welcomes in the New Year – 2021!  In an effort to guide and support the businesses we’ve come to know, we offer our monthly blog series.  This January, Steven Riggs, managing partner and Chief Listening Officer, at Riggs Creative Group LLC touches on a skill that is crucial for business owners as he attempts to tackle the question, what is the best connector in business?

Steven Riggs, Managing Partner and Chief Listening Officer

Listening — really listening and connecting — can be hard work. It’s human nature: everyone wants to be heard, but most of us would rather talk than listen.

While some say talk is cheap, I’ve found listening is my best business investment. When I lis-ten to those who cross my path, I earn their attention and build a connection that opens doors. You can’t collaborate, solve a problem, or even know what the problem is until you’ve listened.

Certified Executive Coach Tarek Kassar calls listening the most important skill for success. Those who know me say I’m an extrovert. I enjoy meeting new people and catching up with acquaintances and peers. But when it comes to listening, experts say extroverts have to work harder. It’s introverts who are more naturally inclined to listen.

Whether you think you’re an introvert or extrovert, it pays to practice listening. Try going deep with family and friends. These encounters can start out with caring questions around how someone is managing life. What concerns the person, or what is he or she is looking forward to? When the urge arises to jump in with your thoughts, try to pause and refocus on connect-ing with the speaker.

In his book “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect,” John Maxwell says “Connecting is never about me. It’s about the person with whom I’m communicating.… If you want to connect with others, you have to get over yourself. You have to change the focus from inward to outward, off of yourself and onto others.”

I’ve learned that listening is more than hearing words. It’s seeing the whole person. We are physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual beings. Whether you’re connecting in-person, via cell, or Zoom, effective listening increases awareness, builds understanding, shows kindness and empathy, and demonstrates openness to others’ ideas. I was recently reminded that listening is a core component of compassion. It’s a choice you make to hear, understand, and take or suggest useful action. Even when no action is possible or no solution can be offered, being present and listening is enough.

Let’s make this new year more promising by resolving to work on listening with compassion. And, if you’d like to chat, I’m ready to listen and happy to share more on building connection. Drop me a line at