Active Listening Skills are Important at Work
Last updated July 19, 2021
No matter if you are applying to your first job right now or already have had a few work experiences, there is one skill that you need to set you apart: Active Listening. While we are constantly taking in information - through text on our phone, through headphones, people talking around us - active listening is so much more than just hearing.
Where hearing someone speak is passive, really listening to them is intentional and active. One definition of active listening is the ability to focus completely on someone speaking, understand what they are saying, and be able to thoughtfully respond.
Why build your active listening skills? Active listening at work can help you:
When you fully listen to a coworker, a boss, or a customer you are showing them just how much you care about them as a human. This can open up collaboration and make people feel safe confiding in you.
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!
Get Better at Your Job
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.
Here are two easy ways to develop your active listening skills at work:
Ask Open-Ended 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, “Wow, thanks for sharing about your experience when you started at this job. What kinds of things do you wish you knew when you started?”
We have the world at our fingertips at any given moment, but when you’re practicing active listening the only thing that matters is what the other person is saying! Try to show them this with your body language: put your phone away, make eye contact, and smile or nod along. This tells them you’re listening and also reminds you to keep engaged.