Active listening is a soft skill that directs the focus from what’s in your head to the words coming from the outside. It is usually held in high regard by employers.
The aim of active listening is to gain information; understand people and situations before responding to them, and show respect by expressing that you are indeed taking what they say into account. Active listening builds strong relationships and, while it may not come naturally to many of us, it’s a vital communication skill.
There are 6 important elements that make up active listening:
1. Paying attention to what is said
Active listening requires focus (on the speaker). Face them and give them your full attention while avoiding distractions (and avoiding becoming one yourself).
2. Paying equal attention to what is not said
Believe it or not, verbal language isn’t even half the battle. Body language is said to be the biggest factor to look out for when it comes to successful communication. You’ll want to develop some good attention to detail skills and pay attention to body language, tone, cadence, expressions, proxemics, and haptics.
3. Express interest
As you should be paying attention to their body language, you can do your part and use your own body language to show that you are keenly listening to them. You can also use short verbal acknowledgements as well as smiles and nods. Try to avoid crossing your arms or appearing closed off or uninviting.
Giving a quick summary of/paraphrasing what the speaker has said and/or asking questions will prove that you have not only been hearing what they’ve told you but also actively listened.
5. Make it a judgment-free zone
Be sure to keep an open mind and don’t make assumptions. Try not to reprimand the speaker because of what they say. Remember, your job is to listen, not preach.
6. Give a rational response
When you’re sure you understand what has been said, it’s time to formulate a logical and sound response. Make sure it is honest and with the appropriate tone while staying respectful. Treat them how you’d like to be treated. Active listening can have many benefits. This, of course, extends to the business world too. Not sure what difference it can make for you or your company? Then feel free to keep reading on to discover how active listening can help you!
Trust is a major commodity that active listening can help you establish. Using active listening skills shows the other person you care and are interested in what they are saying. People are more likely to come to you when they feel trusted. A study found that those who “listen to understand” have better and happier relationships with others.
When employers fail to truly listen to their employees, they risk losing them. If an employee feels they aren’t being listened to, they will most likely start to resent their job or employer and naturally will want to find somewhere else where they feel more appreciated.
When you listen and repeat what a speaker is saying not only does it help you form a counterargument, but it can also show the speaker holes in their own logic.
When involved in negotiations, active listening gives you a chance to analyse exactly what the other party is saying to gauge how to get the best deal.
To establish a healthy workplace culture and improve the productivity of workers at all levels, active listening is necessary. It can be easy for attention spans to drift off in the workplace, particularly during meetings or when detailed information is being relayed. Finding a way to actively absorb all of that information (e.g. asking questions, repeating key points) can help the listener retain what has been discussed and keep their attention.
Leaders should always embrace learning, and active listening is a powerful skill that supports learning. Focusing more intensely makes it possible to understand information and understand different topics better, and then remember more details from what you’ve learnt.
In turn, this can help prevent errors that would otherwise occur due to a lack of certain information. Active listening can put you in a position where you can better identify, address, and solve any issues that arise.
As you can see, active listening isn’t only a helpful skill but should be considered a necessary skill too. Just by putting in a little more effort to listen and show that you’re listening, you can open up so many more possibilities and improve the workplace in general. If you’d like to learn more about this and/or would like to discuss how Excelify Solutions can help you with all of your lead generation needs, then consider visiting the Excelify Solutions website at https://www.excelifysolutions.com/ or send us an email at Contact@ExcelifySolutions.com.