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Communication Skills: 8 Active Listening Skills That Improve Workplace Communication

May 29, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 527

Effective workplace communication training must include active listening. This key communication skill is one that supervisors and managers must also have themselves so they can communicate effectively with their employees.

Costly mistakes, poor service, and wasted time are results of inattentive listening. Effective listening skills can help to avoid these mistakes and increase productivity as well as job satisfaction.

Imagine this:

During a meeting with his supervisor, Mr. Smith suddenly stood up and starting running in place. Astonished, his supervisor asked, "Smith! What are you doing?"

Mr. Smith breathlessly replied, "I'm being active while I listen!"

Most of us would agree that is a ridiculous scenario. But, why do we call it "active" listening? Because listening...really listening to someone...is not a passive exercise. It's something that you must actively do. (But, getting up and running in place is not what it means.)

Here's another listening example that's more realistic.

Sam is very busy trying to meet a deadline when his supervisor comes over to talk to him. He continues working while listening to his supervisor. Sam's supervisor is explaining a new company policy. Sam, halfway paying attention, nods occasionally while continuing his work. His supervisor gets upset and says, "Sam, it doesn't seem like you're really listening. Did you get everything I just said?" Sam is forced to admit that he didn't. His supervisor says, "I think we need to work on your listening skills," and gives him a list of things to practice.

8 Active Listening Skills That Improve Workplace Communication

  1. Stop whatever you are doing
  2. Give your full attention to the speaker. Not only will this show respect, but it will also allow you to see the other person's body language.
  3. Lean forward
  4. Look directly at the other person
  5. Nod appropriately
  6. Tilt your head very slightly to one side
  7. Make appropriate comments about what is being said
  8. Repeat back important points to make sure that what the person said is what you understood, "So, what I understood from what you said is..."

Sam's story continues...

A few days later Sam's supervisor comes over to his desk while Sam is busy at work. Remembering what he had learned from the list of active listening skills, he immediately stops working. Sam gives his supervisor his complete attention. He leans forward, has good eye contact, nods appropriately, and gives feedback about what his supervisor is saying to him.

Sam's supervisor is excited. "You are really paying attention to me today," he says. "You must have been practicing the list of active listening skills."

Sam smiles and says, "I have, and I can tell that it makes a big difference in what I hear and remember." Sam's supervisor is pleased and encourages him to keep practicing his listening skills.

Listening and understanding is essential in workplace communication, and can make a difference between costly mistakes and work being done effectively.

Therefore, for the success of your company, it pays to listen.

That is why successful managers and supervisors have not only learned the skills involved in active listening, but also have included these essential communication skills in employee training.

Visit http://www.confidencecenter.com/leadership to get instant access to our free Leadership Quiz.

Discover how effective are you as a supervisor or manager in the essential workplace leadership skills. The results - improved employee motivation, attitudes, skills, and productivity.

How happy are your employees? Find out with our free Employee Morale Assessment. Get it at: http://www.ConfidenceCenter.com

Copyright: Written by Harriet Meyerson, president of The Confidence Center. You may print this article in your newsletter, magazine, or web site as long as you include the resource information.

Source: EzineArticles
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