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Why Active Listening Skills are Important at Work

Last updated January 8, 2024

Whether you’re starting your first job or have already had one, there is one skill that can set you apart in the workplace: active listening. In a digital world, we are constantly passively taking in information from our phones, social media, TV, and more. However, active listening is different in that it requires intentionality and focus. By building your active listening skills over time, you can become a more effective team player who people depend on and look to for support. We’ll outline some key ways to build your active listening skills in the workplace, and why growing these skills now matters! 

A brunette woman wearing an apron smiles and holds a basket of flowers - Why Active Listening Skills are Important at Work

Avoid distractions

When practicing active listening, the only thing that matters is what the person you’re talking to is saying! When having important conversations with bosses or coworkers, it’s best to avoid distractions. You can do this by having the conversation in private and away from the noise and conversations of other people, and putting your phone away and on silent. 

Ask open-ended questions

A key way to become a better active listener is to ask questions. When someone shares something with you, follow up with a question that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. This shows you are really listening and care about their perspective. For example, you can ask a customer a question such as, “Wow, thanks for sharing your experience in our shop last week. What steps can we take to make your customer experience even better?" Asking open-ended questions shows the person you're talking to, whether it’s your manager or a customer, that you care about them and are truly interested in making sure you understand what they need and how you can help. 

While this skill can help you on the job, it’s also an important interview technique. Asking questions in a job interview can give you a more complete picture of the company and position you're applying to, while showing the person interviewing you that you’re eager to learn more. 

Benefits of active listening

There are many benefits of practicing your active listening skills! Here are a few:

Build trust

When you fully listen to a coworker, boss, or customer, you are showing them that you care. This can lead to building deeper trust and opportunities for collaboration. Think about a person in your life that’s always down to hear about how your day was or to help you solve a problem. Through asking questions and actively listening, you can become that go-to person at work!

Solve problems

If you are able to actively listen to your coworkers or customers, you’ll be able to listen for potential problems and work with them to create solutions together. Problem-solving is a skill that you are going to see on every job posting and job description from now until you retire! Being able to practice collaborative problem-solving on the job starts with listening. The best teams are made up of great communicators, and when you bring your active listening skills to the team, you'll solve problems through empathy and creative thinking.

Grow professionally 

Everyone around you at work has something to teach you! When you’re curious and actively listening, you can take in great tips and wisdom. If you know someone who you think does great work or has a job you might want someday, ask them to tell you how they got there. As you put your open-ended question asking and active listening skills to work, they may just hand you the secrets to their success! 

Have any questions about landing or succeeding in a job? Text #Jobs to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

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