The Importance of Active Listening
No matter what your position in the company might be active listening will always be an important part of your job. By becoming a good listener you’re more inclined to have people like you, and to have others find you influential in their life. Because after all, if you’re taking the time to listen to what they’re saying, most of the time they’re willing to do the same for you.
So, what is active listening?
Naturally our bodies, and more specifically our ears function passively. No matter what we are doing we are listening, whether we are paying attention to the signals or not. However, listening on the other hand requires engaging our brain to focus on the sounds we are hearing and interpret them accordingly. And even further, when we work on engagement, concentration, self-discipline and have the desire to comprehend means we have met active listening.
Here are some tips to help improve your active listening:
- Be genuine. Show a true interest in what people have to say, and be ready to listen.
- Look directly at the person speaking, don’t look away or wander around the room with your eyes as you listen.
- Remove all distractions from the conversation including phone calls, texts, e-mails.
- Focus on what the other person is saying, not what you’re going to say back to them.
- Never interrupt the speaker. If you have a question, wait for a natural pause and then ask your question.
Overall active listening is about understanding on another and building trust and an overall better communication in the workplace. This is a skill that is in great demand.
It’s important to avoid things such as asking “Why” too frequently, giving advice when it isn’t asked, patronizing, preaching and even offering quick reassurances to the speaker. You don’t want to offend them or overwhelm them in anyway. In fact, you want them to feel comfortable with you. This will keep strong relationships open with room for better communication.