From entry-level workers to managers to CEOs, all employees want to be appreciated and respected by the people they work with. Everyone wants to be heard, listened to, and understood. By being a good listener, you’re showing respect to others. So, here are a few tips to polish up your listening skills and help you improve your workplace relationships.
Acknowledge the Speaker. When you’re listening to someone, send them verbal and nonverbal cues to let them know you hear what they’re saying. You can acknowledge them with eye contact and head nods, and respond with an enthusiastic tone. Avoid crossing your arms – this makes it appear that you’re not interested in what they’re talking about or sends the signal that you’re on the offensive.
Fight Distractions. Work is a busy place, and usually, there’s something or someone fighting for your time and attention. But, avoid doing other tasks when someone is talking to you. Ignore people walking by, your e-mail inbox, and the phone so you don’t come across as ignoring the speaker when you’re distracted. Concentrate on the person talking and what they’re saying so you can fully understand what they’re talking about.
Don’t Interrupt. Most people have a habit of interrupting others when they’re talking because everyone wants to be heard and give their input; however, interrupting comes off as disrespectful toward the speaker. No matter how enthusiastic you are to respond, allow the speaker to finish their thought before you speak. Allow them to explain before you chime in to add to their ideas. Then, formulate your thought and respond to them. This will keep you from jumping to the wrong conclusion or coming across as rude.
Listening is a skill we begin learning at a young age, but it’s only mastered with lots of deliberate practice. So, use these listening techniques every day with every one you talk to, including people at work. Over time, you might just see your workplace relationships improve as your conversations take on a more respectful tone and others feel the respect they crave.