How to Be a Better Listener
Download activity below.
We all know people we consider to be good listeners, as well as those we feel never listen.
The difference between good and bad listeners comes down to behavior, and what people do to make sure the speaker feels valued and understood.
Here's a free activity you can use to identify the listening traits you admire and want to cultivate in yourself versus bad listener behaviors you want to avoid.
Effective Listening is a Skill Worth Building
Effective listening is a key interpersonal skill with many benefits. Here are just a few examples:
• Reduce misunderstandings. When discussing a project with a coworker, for example, effective listening prompts you to ask questions if you're in any way unclear about the goal of the project, the timeline, or who is doing what. This helps you avoid costly do-overs or missed deadlines.
• Build inclusion. Every employee deserves the chance to be heard when they're giving their input or ideas. Effective listening stems from resisting your "rebuttal brain" to avoid dismissing ideas out of hand. It also encourages you to ask questions so you can better understand and consider the input being given.
• Be an upstander. In the event a co-worker or employee seeks advice from you because they've been a victim or harassment or discrimination, effective listening is part of being an upstander for respect. Listening intently shows you care about what the person is going through and enables you to identify the facts of the situation so you can help the person determine what next steps to take.
• Manage conflict.Empathy (or attempting to understand where the other person is coming from) is a big part of positive conflict resolution. This is achieved by showing a willingness to hear the other person out and consider their side of the argument when disagreement arises.
This activity can help you become a better listener.
The 2-part activity lets you:
- List the behaviors of the best and worst listeners you know.
- Reflect on the impact good (or bad) listening has on others and the workplace as a whole.
- Evaluate where you fall on the Best/Worst Listener scale.
- Review a list of Effective Listening tips and select those you can apply right away.
The Are You Listening? activity is free to download and represents just one of the many supportive training and performance aids available from Atana.
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