Walter Bodell, Executive Chronicles | Listening is one of the most valuable skills that an employee can possess. When somebody is good at listening, they are able to take feedback and engage more meaningfully with their colleagues. A community that prioritizes listening over talking will inevitably grow stronger over time.
The Problem With Today’s Listening Culture
Why do so few business prioritize listening in the workplace? For one thing, the modern world of constant media bombardment has overwhelmed most people’s ears. People learn to tune out most of the noise around them as a result of commercials and telemarketers constantly trying to get their attention. As a result, society is often distracted.
It requires a conscious effort to move towards a mindset of active listening. The good news is that it isn’t that hard to encourage a company to listen better. It starts with being aware of the problem and wanting to improve.
How to Listen Better
When two people converse with each other, good listening skills benefit them both equally. The listener learns more information and feels more relaxed. The speaker has the comfort that comes with really being heard, even if they aren’t always agreed with.
Listening isn’t only about sound. A great way to improve your listening habit is to pay attention to the body language of the speaker. Hand movements and facial expressions often convey a large amount of extra information to provide context for the speaker’s statements.
Another good trick is to never interrupt the speaker. It is amazing how often people interrupt each other in day to day conversation. There are some people who never actually wait for anybody to finish their sentence. As soon as an idea comes to mind, they begin speaking. Don’t do that. Wait for a pause of at least one full second before beginning to speak.
Teaching Others How to Listen
It’s not enough to be a good listener yourself. If you want listening to be a core principle of your business, you need to spread the message across your organization. You can do this through workshops or written pamphlets.
The most effective method is to build listening into your company’s workflow. Create a “no interruption” rule that applies to all dialogue during work hours. Ask employees to write down one or two interesting things they heard at the end of each day. Hold feedback sessions where managers listen to employee concerns and ideas.
Any time you can increase the amount of listening at your company, you improve the flow of information. When information is able to spread, the organization becomes stronger.
Listen to Customers and Clients Too
You should utilize the listening skill in your interactions with customers too. This is a simple way to get to know them better.
Look at customer reviews and see what the common compliments and complaints are. Google may help you find niche review sites to check out. Use your brand name followed by the word “reviews,” for example “NuSkin Reviews,” as a way to identify hidden sources of customer information.
It’s hard to keep listening when you are presented with information you do not like. Stay open-minded even to negative reviews if you want to grow as a company.
Prioritize Listening for a More Effective Organization
The fastest way to grow as a person, and as a company, is to listen. Use the tools and tactics laid out in this post to make this skill part of the core of your business. If your entire team develops a strong sense for listening, you’ll avoid unnecessary conflict and unlock valuable new ideas.