Welcome back, everyone! We hope that you had a wonderful weekend and are taking advantage of the last few weeks of summer. As I enter into a new position at the end of this week (I’ll get into those details on Thursday!), I thought it would be a perfect time to refresh our memory on the importance of being an active and engaged listener at work. Keep reading to find out how to best soak up information and engage in conversations!
Being the Best Listener You Can Be…
- Removing distractions! Even if you have a habit of multitasking in some meetings or during activities, being a great listener requires full focus on whatever is in front of you. We spend a majority of our day thinking about what we are going to do next and it distracts us from the task at hand. Silence your phone; turn off your texts or notifications on your computer, and you will already be more prepared to listen.
- Body language: When you are talking to someone in person (and over a virtual call as well!), body language is so crucial to how you come across. Simply making sure you are facing the person you are talking to can help you focus on what they are saying. Also, better posture shows the person that you care about what they are saying and want to know more.
- Eye contact: I know eye contact can sometimes feel awkward or uncomfortable… it’s probably just my generation trained to stare at their phones, but it really comes in handy when trying to listen to others actively. Our mind follows where our eyes are so if your eyes are darting around a coffee shop, your office space, a wall, or especially a screen, more likely than not the person you are speaking to will assume that your thoughts aren’t far behind.
- Draw interest from the other person: We are much more prone to be attentive listeners when the person who is speaking is interesting to us. If you find yourself having trouble listening to others, try and ask yourself – what you can get out of the conversation. Treating every conversation at work and as you are training with importance will undoubtedly help you stay engaged. You never know who will be on track toward becoming your next go-to person or mentor, so treat everyone with interest and respect.
- Be present: What do we mean by this? While incorporating the above aspects will set you up for success, the final piece of the puzzle is participation and being present! Ask questions throughout the conversation or jot down notes for the end, and make sure to address topics covered in your 1:1. For example, if you’re discussing the new role, ask questions about goals, deliverables, and other expectations of your performance. If you’re chatting about the hybrid work environment, as how the team cadence looks for going into the office – asking questions relevant to the conversation shows you’re being thoughtful and engaged.
Searching for a new position? Check out our open jobs list!