A lot has been written about how to present yourself in interviews, what to say and how to answer specific questions. We always end up focusing more on talking instead of listening.
This is understandable as in your workplace, you will constantly have to make presentations, speak up in meetings and have discussions with your supervisor. If you are able to speak confidently and present your arguments with clarity, it will definitely help your career in the long run.
But what if someone told you listening is just as important for the advancement of your career? Active listening, to be precise.
What is Active Listening?
Active listening means listening with intent and strategy. Researchers have found active listening to be the most effective style of listening. Inactive listening, you are supposed to listen for intent, content and the emotions of the person you are talking to. It’s an effective way to gather data and information so that you can get a deeper insight into what the person is trying to communicate to you.
But active listening is not only about effectively retaining information from a conversation. It is also about communicating to the person, either verbally or non-verbally, that you are invested in the conversation. You can use your words and body language to let the person know that you are engaged, listening and very much interested in what they have got to say.
Here is why active listening is essential for the growth of your career:
To Get Important Information
When you adopt a listening style, which makes you listen attentively, you are able to gather all the data that you need to complete a project successfully.
Active listening stops you from having to go to your supervisor repeatedly just because you didn’t understand the instructions clearly enough the first time.
Therefore, it makes you work in a more efficient manner. The management would definitely notice this, and you will be able to climb the career ladder faster than your colleagues.
Working as a team on one project is never easy. Mishaps and miscommunications become common, and people can start to get on each other’s nerves. A lot of miscommunication happens because we are not listening carefully to the ideas and feelings of other people, and we are too obsessed with our own opinions and emotions.
If you start active listening, you will know where your team members stand, and you will be able to work with them more effectively.
Builds Better Work Relationships
When you practice active listening, there is less scope for misunderstandings with your colleagues. As you get to know their intentions, ideas, and emotions, you will work with them better.
Active listening can help form long-lasting friendships in the workplace as it helps you get to know people better. These days colleagues often keep a distance from each other as everyone is busy trying to get ahead.
But instead of competing with your colleagues, you should be effectively collaborating with them. This way, everyone wins.
How can Active Listening Help when you are searching for a Job?
We have already discussed how active listening can help build positive relationships in the workplace. But what if you are unemployed? Can active listening still help you? It definitely can. Active listening can help you in your job search.
Employers love seeing a candidate who is attentive and engaged during the interview. By demonstrating that you are listening carefully and following everything being said, you can prove to the interviewer that you are very much interested in the job.
You will also be able to retain all the information better. This will help you make the decision whether you want to join the company if they give you an offer letter.
How to Demonstrate Active Listening?
It is very important that the person you are talking to feels heard. Here are some easy ways to demonstrate active listening:
- Ask Questions: Active listening doesn’t mean listening quietly when the other person is speaking, and you are supposed to ask questions to clarify everything being said. When you ask relevant questions, the listener will realize that you are paying attention, but you are also very much interested in the conversation.
- Keep Reframing their Sentences: When you reframe what has just been said, it does two things: It shows that you were actually listening, and it helps you retain the information you just heard.
- Present Solutions: After you have listened carefully to everything that has been said, you should offer some solutions. After all, if a colleague comes to you with a problem they want to talk about, they are also looking for some helpful suggestions.
Active listening can really help form positive relationships with your colleagues and supervisors. It can make you a more efficient worker and help you advance in your career. Have you ever tried active listening at your workplace? Let us know by writing a comment in the section below.
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