How to Be a Better Active Listener at Work
Listen up! Studies show that an employee “is 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform to the best of their abilities” when they feel heard and understood. For the benefit of the business, it is essential that everyone in the company, from higher-level managers to lower-level workers, possess active listening skills. In doing so, there will be more extensive business relationships, less misunderstandings throughout tasks, increased productivity, and, overall, a more successful business. Although active listening is a learned skill, it is one that can be easily mastered. Follow along to learn the tricks and tips that, when consistently practiced, will enhance your active learning skills.
As simple as it sounds, this is a key element that many overlook. When listening, it is important to be focused on the topic and conversation at hand. So, instead of thinking about your post-works plans for the night, make eye contact with the speaker and listen to both the words they are saying, and the message they are conveying with their body language.
Just as you should be studying the speaker’s body language, it is important to focus on your own as well. Show the speaker that you are listening by facing them with an open and inviting stance (no crossed arms or slouched heads and shoulders). Also, some head nods and positive facial expressions can help as well. You don’t need to overdo it, just show enough to demonstrate your understanding of the conversation.
Use Verbal Cues
In addition to your body language, verbal signals can also help display your attentiveness to the conversation. While the speaker is speaking, it can be helpful to ask relevant questions and give the occasional “Ok” or “I see.” That being said- do not interrupt the speaker. This will make the speaker feel as though they are unheard or unimportant. Instead, hold your questions and comments until the speaker finishes their point.
Throughout the article, we mention to give relevant physical and verbal responses. This shows the speaker that you have been listening and absorbing all the information provided. When doing so, it is crucial to respond with honest and respectful feedback that is relevant the current topic.
Now it is time to hone in on your skills. The next time you converse with a colleague, remember to pay attention, utilize body language and verbal cues, and respond accordingly. This will ensure the betterment of your business and interpersonal communication skills. Happy listening!