Active listening is a skill that everyone can develop further. There will always be distractions getting in the way of active listening, such as personal thoughts and interruptions. However, practicing active listening can improve many aspects of your personal and professional relationships.
“Listening is not understanding the words of the question asked. Listening is understanding why the question was asked in the first place.” – Simon Sinek
Have you ever had a coworker ask you a follow up question? How did that make you feel? Actively listening in professional relationships has the ability to build rapport and trust. A simple gesture of asking how a vacation was or the results from the end of a project, shows that you were actively listening to one another.
Active listening can also reduce misunderstandings and conflicts. Taking the time to cut out distractions help you hear the conversation the first time and give you the time to ask questions for clarification. This inturn will help you gain insights and information. By being present and actively listening, conversation can follow with the exploration of ideas and solutions. Overall active listening will improve your communication skills and help you retain more information from conversations.
Keeping in mind that this is an ongoing skill that needs to be practiced. There will always be the occasion when a deadline or project is distracting your focus. We all have off days where we could use a bit more rest. It is during these times where we need to try a bit harder to actively listen to one another.
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