According to a research study, people spend more than 70% of their daily time in communication and out of this 50% time is consumed in listening.
But do we listen attentively or actively ?
Many a times we have other thoughts in our mind when someone is speaking to us.
If we don’t listen what other person is saying then we may miss out important information and can’t respond effectively.
Listening is a skill and you can improve your communication by demonstrating that you have an active listening skill.
Give this article a careful read to know more about active listening in the workplace.
What is active listening in the Workplace?
Active learning is the ability to focus totally on a speaker, absorb their message, comprehend the information, and then deliver appropriate responses to demonstrate attentiveness to the message being presented.
Active listening is a valuable skill for every employee to acquire. It assists you in genuinely comprehending what others are saying during conversations and meetings.
Instead of passively listening to what the speaker is trying to express, active listening is when you are completely aware and focused on what is being said.
The purpose of active listening is to gather information and listen to comprehend individuals and circumstances before responding. It is the deliberate effort to pay attention and grasp what others are attempting to say without passing judgment.
The ability to listen varies from individual to individual. The good news is that it is a communication skill that can be learned with time and with perseverance.
Active listening is all about focusing, comprehending, and looking at things from various angles for a better purpose.
Importance of active listening in the Workplace
Active listening abilities will help you succeed whether you’re looking for a new profession, trying to get a promotion, or just striving to improve at what you’re doing now.
Being an active listener has various advantages:
Strong connections with people
People will be more interested in connecting with you frequently if you display your capacity to truly listen to what others have to say.
This can help you collaborate with others and complete tasks more quickly. All of these factors can contribute to your professional success.
Communication is a two-way process. When management is not paying heed to what employees are saying and employees are not listening what management is communicating with them.
This kind of communication gap results into low productivity.
Active listening actually helps everyone to understand each other’s view point and avoid any miscommunication which may negatively affect productivity.
Active listening helps you to understand perspective of other persons. When you lend an ear to what another person is saying then you are able to know how other person is feeling in a certain situation.
Active listening helps you to put yourself in shoes of another person. In other words, it helps to practice empathy in the workplace
Resolution of Workplace Conflict
Conflicts happens at every workplace. But what is important is that being able to resolve those conflict.
One of the main causes of workplace conflict is lack of communication and inability to understand other person point of view.
Active listening helps in understanding perspectives and feelings of others which ultimately leads to resolving conflicts at the workplace.
Active listening provides you with opportunities to learn more about organization and people. By listening to other people actively you will be more informed about knowledge and skills.
So active listening helps you to strengthen your professional capacity by knowing more professional concepts and understanding details of these concepts.
Three Levels of Active Listening
Active listening is at the core of leadership and management.
To completely appreciate the importance of listening, you must first realize the three levels of active listening and how they influence your encounters.
Level 1: Listen to Speak
It’s about internal speaking. It’s means listening to your inner voice.
Most of us are trapped in this level of listening. Instead of truly listening to what people have to say, we are preoccupied with how we will respond.
Rather than attempting to grasp the speaker’s point of view, our responses are often driven by our thoughts and feelings. Furthermore, we are busy with other distractions and do not make a conscious attempt to eliminate them.
This level of listening leads to misunderstandings and, more often than not, it causes us to miss out important information during conversation.
Level 2: Listen to Hear
This level of listening is also known as focussed listening. It’s about listening closely to what the other person has to say.
Although our thoughts may distract us from listening other person but we make careful attempts to prevent them and focus on the person speaking.
A leader must listen closely to everyone, regardless of their level of employment, to communicate effectively. This will demonstrate to them that you care about them as a leader.
Level 3: Listen to Understand
This is the highest level of listening which entails paying genuine attention to what the other person says. It also includes analysing what other persons are saying.
You need to perceive nonverbal communication such as body language and facial expressions at this level of listening. Tone, feelings, sincerity, and a reluctance to reveal information are all examples of subtle hints.
It has the potential to play a significant role in decision-making when properly applied. It also aids in the establishment of strong relationships between you and your staff, which will improve team performance and productivity
How to practise active listening skill in the Workplace?
As it is already said that active listening is a skill. And like any skill, it can be acquired and developed by practising some tips and techniques.
Here are some key principles which are useful for practising active listening skill:
1. Clear Mind from Thoughts
The first and foremost principle is to switching off your thoughts and focus only on what the speaker is saying. Try to be present in the moment and clear all thoughts coming in your mind.
Rather than planning your reaction, listen attentively and absorb all what is being said.
Many of the issues or queries you were preparing to raise may end up being addressed by speaker anyhow.
2. Make use of both verbal and nonverbal cues
Using verbal and nonverbal cues can naturally make the speaker feel valued and respected. A combination of smiles, head nods, and eye contact may provide them with the confidence they require as they speak.
Similarly, being aware of your posture says a lot about how attentive you are. You can be a respectful listener by combining these nonverbal clues with paraphrasing, intelligent inquiries, and positive encouragement.
3. Refrain from making a judgment
Avoid making any inferences or judgments until other person finishes speaking. When you choose to become judgemental then you will compromise on your active listening abilities.
So always listen to what is being said at the face value and then you can analyse the conversation later.
If you start making assumption and your mind is focussed on it then there are chances that you may lose important details and information that is being said.
4. Use non-verbal communication skills
You can use non-verbal communication skills to show that you are listening attentively. For instance, if you show simple nods then it means you are understanding what is being said.
Like a nod, a small smile motivates a speaker to continue speaking. A smile and nod also communicate that you are interested in what another person is saying and also you are agree with the message.
There is another important benefit of non-verbal communication cues that a smile can help to dimmish any tension and ensure the speaker feels comfortable.
5. Don’t Interrupt
Interrupting other person while he/she is speaking is against all manners and etiquettes.
It’s also shows that you are rude and you consider your opinion more important than that of others.
It is possible that you may have to interrupt other person but there is a way to do this.
The best way to deal with this situation is to take permission before interrupting other person while he/she is speaking.
Active listening is a skill that people are not taking it seriously. You may learn a lot more and have a positive impact at work if you concentrate on what people are saying. So, you need to follow some tips and practise active listening. You will find many work-related benefits of active listening in the workplace.