When was the last time you had a conversation with someone and realized that, while that person technically heard you, they didn’t listen to a word you said? It happens far too frequently – and if you’ve found yourself in that position, you know how frustrating it feels. It’s something worth considering, especially for your career: Hearing is a sense, but active listening is a skill, and one that’s worth working on if you want to get ahead.
What it can do for work.
First, it will help you have a better understanding of not only your assignment but also your boss’ expectations. Good listening skills allow you to build better rapport with coworkers, clients, and superiors, as well as making them feel supported. Finally, this skill will help you work better in a team, resolve problems with others, and help you truly understand what people are saying.
Use more than your ears – look like you’re listening.
Active listening also involves your eyes. Look the other person in the eye and you’ll automatically pay attention, and they’ll see that, too. Avoid interrupting so you can let them speak and mull over what they have to say before answering. You also want to sit still (fidgeting signals boredom) and nod your head to indicate agreement or understanding. Look for verbal cues that will give you further understanding and ask questions to clarify any of their points.
Make listening effective and easy.
You may want to listen well but have your own natural walls to get around, such as personal biases or prejudices, a short attention span, your own feelings (worry, anger, fear), an inability to understand someone’s accent, or difficulty hearing due to a loud background noise. Fortunately, none of these barriers are insurmountable. Awareness and a desire to listen more effectively will help you improve that skill.
A seemingly simple skill, active listening truly can have a positive impact on your career path. To take that next step down the path, work with PrideStaff.