Active Listening Skills: Why Are They Crucial in the Workplace?

November 28, 2022


A colleague participates in a conversation through active listening.
Active listening skills make the difference between a good speaker and a good collaborator.

Picture this scenario: you’re at work and someone starts speaking to you. You nod your head in agreement, but you soon realize you’re just “hearing” what they’re saying, not listening. Or perhaps, you heard them speak, but quickly brushed them off without much acknowledgment. And minutes later, you completely forgot the contents of your conversation. 

This phenomenon is all-too-common in our fast-paced culture, and we’re all guilty of it. True listening requires us to pause, slow down, and actually take the time to hear what the other person is saying. 

But why is it so important to develop this skill in the workplace? Active listening skills make you a better leader, a better professional, and overall, a better person, too. If you want to become a better listener at work and in life, here’s what you should know.

What is Active Listening, and Why Does it Matter?

So, what is active listening? Active listening is the process of attentively listening to the speaker. It’s when you take the time to comprehend what the other person is saying. The listener takes time to pause, reflect, and respond accordingly. 

You know you’re actively listening when you can recall what was said after the conversation has ended. When two people are actively listening to one another, it is a sign of true interpersonal engagement. Active listening is when you’re truly tuned into a conversation. 

Active listening is becoming a valuable skill in the workplace. More employers are looking for people who can retain information, reflect, and provide relevant feedback. Not only this, but it’s also a crucial part of being a leader in the workplace. 

Managers, executives, and administrators alike must learn active listening skills to succeed in the workplace. Demonstrating active listening skills increases the likelihood of moving up the leadership ladder at work.

Active listening is also an important part of effective communication. Think of how many workplace miscommunications could be avoided if more practiced active listening. It helps the workplace run more smoothly, improves interpersonal relations, and can even foster company growth.

How to Practice Active Listening

Here are some ways you can practice active listening skills in the workplace. On the other end, these are also surefire signs that the other person has fully received what you said.

Don’t Speak, Just Listen

It can be frustrating to get interrupted in the middle of a share. There’s a cultural misconception that speaking, excessively nodding, or saying “mhm” are ways to show you’re listening. Though well-intentioned, this isn’t the case. Don’t speak when someone else is sharing. Simply listen, remain engaged, give eye contact, and wait until they’re complete to interject.

Don’t Rush to Respond

There’s no need to give an immediate response. Pause, slow down, take a deep breath, and ask if they’re finished speaking. If they’re complete, you can offer a thoughtful response to what was said.

Reflect Back What You Heard

Once the speaker is finished, you can reflect back on what you heard. This is a great way to show the other person you were actively listening. Once you’ve offered your reflection, you can even ask the speaker, “did I get that right?” This gives the speaker a chance to make any relevant adjustments, and also makes them feel heard.

Ask Relevant Questions

Get curious! Ask relevant questions to encourage the speaker to share more. Stay engaged. If you feel that there’s more that was left unsaid, don’t be afraid to ask. Most people don’t get the floor to share their thoughts. This is a refreshing way of prompting further thoughts from the other person.

Becoming an Active Listener Takes Time

Becoming an active listener takes time, practice, and skill. Developing active listening skills could greatly benefit your career as an administrative professional. Want more resources like this? ASAP is dedicated to providing administrators with the tools they need to thrive. Learn more about becoming a member today!

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