Whether you are an entry-level account executive or the CEO of your firm, one of the most important skills necessary to thrive in the workplace, is to be a good listener. But what does it mean to be a “good” listener and how can you use this skill to excel on the job?
Everyone has their own way of communicating, both verbally and physically. Below are tips to help you become a better listener in the workplace and throughout your career.
Understanding Various Styles of Both Verbal and Physical Communication
Understand that there are several different types of communication styles, and that the background of the person you are speaking with may be different from your own. Keep in mind that this includes more than just the words a person is speaking. It’s necessary to pay attention to things like tone, facial expressions, gestures, and posture to fully interpret what a person is saying and how they’re feeling.
Building Relationships with People You Frequently Talk To and Work With
Building meaningful relationships with your colleagues will help you get a grasp on their communication styles and will also help to create a positive work culture. Developing this rapport will not only allow you to learn their approach to communication, but it will also make the communication process more efficient.
At times, you may encounter individuals who are very soft-spoken and others who are loud and passionate in their delivery. You will certainly meet people who like to communicate with their hands and make a lot of movements, some that are very direct, and others who are verbose and may take longer to articulate their message. Being patient and focusing on the speaker will allow you to better understand the point they are trying to make.
Listening to A Complete Message or Thought
Regardless of the speaker’s approach, allow them to completely finish their thoughts before responding. Interrupting could cause them to lose focus and forget important details. Listening to their complete thought will also allow you to digest the whole of what they are saying instead of in fragments. Additionally, if you are speaking about a subject that is sensitive to you, don’t make assumptions and try not to overreact or get easily offended. Listen, comprehend, and respond in a calm manner.
Asking Questions to Illicit the Best Response
If you don’t understand something that was said, you should never leave a conversation with lingering questions. In order to illicit the best response, be direct with your language and don’t be afraid to rephrase your question if their answer still doesn’t make sense. Remember, no question is a bad question and it’s better to get a clear understanding of the situation now rather than have to revisit the topic later.
After a conversation, meeting, or presentation is over, it’s helpful to recap the conversation either verbally or in writing to ensure that you not only listened but understood the message correctly.