It’s tough: With a million things going on during your workday, you might have trouble really zeroing in on what someone is saying to you. However, there are many ways you can step up your listening game so you can truly hear what’s going on in the workplace, which in turn can boost your day-to-day productivity. Here are our tips for how to be a better listener at work:
1.) Focus on Nonverbal Cues: Eye contact, upright posture, and other nonverbal cues are so important while listening to a coworker. Check in with yourself regularly and make sure you’re engaging in these behaviors to lay the foundation for good listening. On the flip side, pay attention to the speaker’s nonverbal cues to gain more context during a conversation.
2.) Minimize Distractions: Whether you’re working from home or at the office, choose a space to have a conversation where there aren’t many external distractions. If you can’t get away from a noisy environment, put on headphones or earphones to drown out the background noise as much as possible so you can focus on what the speaker is saying.
3.) Don’t Rehearse Your Response: We’re all guilty of this one; sometimes, especially during an important conversation, we might find ourselves rehearsing what we’re going to say next while the other person is talking. Focus instead on what they’re saying, and then take a second to formulate your response. You’ll be able to respond better if you’ve truly heard what they said.
4.) Repeat the Person’s Words Back to Them: This is a simple practice that goes a long way. After the person is done talking, summarize what you just heard them say. It will make the other person feel truly listened to, and it will keep you on track during a conversation.
5.) Suspend Judgment: Last but certainly not least, remember that listening is about empathy. Try to see the other person’s point of view and emotions rather than judging them. People are more likely to confide in you if they feel you respect what they are saying.
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