How You Can Easily Become a Better Listener in the Workplace

Do you find yourself tuning out coworkers or zoning out when your managers are trying to give you important project instructions? Although many employees have all the best intentions to listen attentively and stay on their toes, the truth is that knowing how to listen effectively is a skill. If you’ve struggled with good listening in the past and fear that you may be coming off as unprofessional or cold to your coworkers, know that you can easily turn things around by brushing up your skills and implementing these straightforward tips.

Be Attentive and Respectful of Your Coworkers’ Opinions

Perhaps one of the most important conversational skills you may want to start practicing immediately is staying attentive and respectful. These two traits tend to go hand in hand, since listeners who are respectful also tend to pay more attention to the conversation, and vice versa. Remind yourself that staying tuned in to your coworkers’ thoughts, feelings and opinions is a great way to build a relationship with them, demonstrate your empathy and remain professional.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Clarifying Follow-Up Questions To Avoid Confusion

Even in the best conversations, ambiguity and confusion may arise. That’s why it’s important to pepper your listening with occasional follow-up questions to make sure you fully understand what your coworker or boss is telling you. This method also allows you to demonstrate that you’re paying attention to the conversation and are interested in what’s being said. However, be extra careful to not interrupt, since this can come across as rude and may mark you as a poor listener in the office.

Stay Engaged in the Conversation To Learn More About Your Coworker

An easy trick to become a better listener practically overnight is to treat every conversation with a coworker as an opportunity to get to know him or her better. Although you don’t want to drag out mundane, strictly-business conversations, water cooler conversations or coffee breaks provide the perfect opportunity to socialize and stay engaged. If you find yourself having a hard time keeping up with the content of the conversation, you may want to review important nuggets of information periodically in your mind throughout the conversation to help boost retention.

If you currently struggle with attentive and effective listening in the workplace, you’re far from alone. Fortunately, this is an issue that you can improve over time by sharpening your skills and putting these easy tips to work right away. Make sure to be respectful, ask plenty of clarifying follow-up questions as needed and stay engaged to become a better listener and a more empathetic coworker and employee.

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