“Listening well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as talking well.” This quote by John Marshall makes it all the more clear how important being a good listener is than just being someone used to talking and being heard. Hearing a conversation is quite natural, but to listen intensely and grasp the essence of the conversation the way the speaker intended you to, is what effective listening is all about. This is highly beneficial to you as well as people around. Effectively listening to a conversation is the greatest motivational step which you can take for another person. We tend to skip words while listening or following up on a conversation. Another mistake which we do is to sit in a conversation with biases and prejudices that curb the ability of our senses, making us misunderstand what is put across to us. Therefore, it is important for a person to practice effective listening skills in order to reduce conflicts and misunderstandings at the workplace. This article provides you with the benefits and steps to develop effective listening skills in the workplace.
Effective Listening In The Workplace
Steps For Effective Listening
- Make an intended effort to listen to conversations. Hearing is a natural phenomenon, but to listen and then grasp is something which you need to train yourself in. Make sure that you make it a point to listen carefully in the conversation you are part of.
- Learn to maintain eye contact while speaking to a person. Eye contact is a way to show to the speaker that your concentration is in the conversation and that you are able to understand and adapt to the conversation.
- Identify and react to the emotion and tone of the conversation. For e.g., if your superior is praising your work or is warning your team, then show the expressions of happiness and concern in the respective conversations.
- A patient approach is very important to develop effective listening skills. Wait for the speaker to complete the conversation and then speak up to give any suggestions or any contradictions. Make sure that you don’t interrupt the meeting or discussion with an inclination to debate a point.
- Make sure that you acknowledge the speaker or an orator at your workplace. One way in which you can do this is with simple nods and short phrases of acceptance. This little effort on your part will convey to the speaker that s/he is been listened to.
- Show some interest in the conversation or discussion that is going on. One way to convey that you are interested is by having the right body language. Your body language plays an important role in making you an effective listener in the workplace. Sit in a position you are comfortable in, in order to make less movements, maintain confident eye contact, and modify your expressions based on the emotions of the speaker’s tone.
Benefits Of Effective Listening Skills In The Workplace
- Effective listening skills lead to effective communication. Miscommunication and misinterpretation are always blamed upon bad presentation skills, and the onus falls as much on the speaker, as on the listener. Hence, as the listener also plays a crucial role in the right understanding of the communication, it is the responsibility of the listener to listen carefully and understand the message.
- Developing good listening skills will help in the spread of fewer misunderstandings at the workplace. An effective listener can prevent misunderstandings and can set back what would otherwise have been a miscommunication, irrespective of the quality of the written or spoken message.
- An effective listener will be able to develop healthy and strong inter-personal relationships at the workplace. A work relationship can suffer blows of misunderstanding and misrepresentation which can affect your work environment. Therefore, it is important to indulge in effective listening practices to convey to co-workers and superiors that their speech is important and respected by you.
- Effective listening skills will not only improve your work environment but will also help in your personal growth. Listening is one of the best ways to learn, therefore a good listener can grasp knowledge and new ideas from the conversations that they are part of. Listening skills will equip you with immense knowledge and will help you develop and grow continuously.
- Developing effective listening skills through practice of effective listening activities will also help you in developing emotional intelligence at the workplace. If all the employees start practicing effective listening, there will be no conflicts in the organisation, which is a good sign for the growth of the organisation!