One of the most important skills a person can possess is the ability to listen. In a world where phones are beeping, watches are buzzing and emails are popping up…we are constantly pulled away.
I, myself, am a terrible listener, ask anyone. I am easily distracted, ooh shiny object, and I have a hard time concentrating on one task at a time. I want to jump all over the place and I am certain I have some undiagnosed something – adderall anyone?
These tips are for all the recovering non-listeners. There is nothing more rude than a person having to repeat themselves multiple times, because you are not listening. Just ask my husband.
- Prioritize it in the workplace. Encourage listening by setting an example. Put away your phone or other distraction, make eye contact, be conscious of nonverbals and actively engage.
- Pay attention to nonverbals. I took a class in college titled ‘Nonverbal Communication,’ thinking it would be a fluff course – I was wrong. A substantial portion of our communication is nonverbal. Every day, we respond to thousands on nonverbal cues and behaviors including postures, facial expression, eye gaze, gestures, and tone of voice.
- Don’t interrupt. This is a tough one, I am very impatient and if I feel someone is taking too long to get to the point, I jump in and make it for them. Trust me, that is a dick move.
Encourage a ‘no interruption’ policy at work. Have employees take note of something they heard during the day, that the can then share with the rest of the team.
When your culture is focused on listening and observing, staff is happier and clients will take note.