Are your employees active listeners?
Although listening may seem like an innate skill, many employees struggle with the aspect of its “active part.” Active listening is a crucial business skill, ensuring the listener is completely concentrating on what is being said, rather than just “passively” hearing what the speaker is trying to convey.
A lack of active listening in a workplace negatively affects relationships, customer service, engagement and productivity. This leads to a lower output, poor customer service and a complete breakdown of work practices.
Keep these four tips in mind for the best active listening practices:
- Ask questions or add to the point: While an employee is addressing a key issue or adding to a main point, ask questions to learn more. This shows that you are not only listening, but understand what is being said and want to know more.
- Clarification: If a certain note or idea becomes lost in translation, ask for clarification. Not understanding something is okay, as long as questions are asked to gain better knowledge afterward. This also allows the speaker to expand on certain points, as well as add on anything they may have left out.
- Engage in nonverbal cues: An employee’s posture and overall demeanor during the conversation can be an important clue into their listening. Be sure to remain open during the conversation, with good posture and mirroring reflective expressions. Mirroring the speaker can display empathy or understanding when its done naturally.
- Maintain eye contact: Looking at a speaker throughout their explanation or discussion is vital. Combining eye contact with nonverbal cues and a smile is the best way to depict your attentiveness.