Being able to listen well is crucial to workplace communication skills in any job role. Great listening skills will allow you to perform better, communicate more effectively, understand more, and feel like a part of the team. Great listening skills from both managers and employees will lead to a better working relationship.
Verbal communication should be a two-way street—one person talks while the other person listens, and vice versa. But frequently, we focus more on talking and not enough on listening. This can cause issues in the workplace.
Listening well is a skill that everyone needs, as it is required in nearly all work activities. Areas where listening skills are crucial:
- When team members listen to each other they are better able to share ideas and solve problems.
- Decision Making. Making the best possible decisions requires knowing all of the available information, and in order to know all of the information you need to listen to it and absorb it.
- Managing and Supervising. Mangers need to listen with empathy, compassion and respect. This will allow employees to feel valued and trusted.
- Customer Service. Listening patiently and helping the customer fully express their issue can provide the extra insight needed to answer questions and solve problems in a way to satisfy the customer.
- Listening to a customer’s needs before you start talking about the sale can provide the information you need to tailor your presentation to the client/customer.
- If you listen with an open mind, you can find clues as to what terms the other party will and won’t accept.
The Listening Model
The Listening Model depicts the three main dimensions of behaviors and shows the extent to which each is invisible and visible. It’s important to keep this model in mind when thinking of improving communication skills.
“Staying Focused” is mostly invisible and involves clearing and maintaining a mental space that allows you to pay full attention to the speaker. “Capturing the Message” can be both invisible and visible and it entails building a complete and accurate understanding of the speaker’s message. “Helping the Speaker” is mostly visible and refers to the golden rule of listening: listen to others as you would have them listen to you. If you perform all of these three categories then you are much more likely to find success in your listening skills.
To learn more about the importance of listening and communication skills and how to perform them better, watch HRDQ’s webinar “How Listening Can Improve Workplace Performance”. After watching you will be able to determine listening effectiveness in three dimensions, explore the visible and invisible aspects of listening, learn what it takes both physically and mentally to listen, understand common barriers to effective listening, and create a plan to put new skills into immediate action. Watch here!
The webinar is based on HRDQ’s “Learning to Listen” product, which evaluates current skill level, shows individuals how to take an active role in the listening process, and then provides ample opportunities for practice and development.