Listening is an important skill for everybody in the workplace, from the CEO to the regular employee. However, many people have not perfected this ability. For example, how often have you pretended to listen to someone but were actually just thinking about what you were going to say next? Being heard is vital to feeling valued. Good listening skills not only provide you with useful feedback for improvement but also help build trusting relationships at work. Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. By listening, you show that person that they are valued and heard. Use these tips to become a great listener!

1. Try not to get defensive when people share their negative feedback or criticisms.

If you’re feeling defensive when somebody is trying to speak with you, try and listen to the message instead of getting wrapped up in your emotions. By discerning the root of what they’re saying, you might be able to have a productive conversation. Practicing empathy and focusing on understanding their perspective can significantly contribute to your journey on how to become a better listener.

2. Allow the person to finish speaking before you start thinking about your response.

Listening attentively is difficult when you are thinking ahead about what you want to say next. As a result, crucial details from the conversation might be missed. To truly engage and absorb information, practice the art of how to actively listen, ensuring a deeper connection and understanding in your interactions.

3. Ask questions during the conversation. 

By asking questions based on the conversation, you not only display that you care about and are invested in the discussion but also have an opportunity to further understand the topic.

4. Look someone in the eye and smile when you talk to them.

Being preoccupied and not making eye contact are two surefire ways to show that you’re not interested in what the other person has to say. On the contrary, by maintaining eye contact and smiling, you’re encouraging them to keep talking.

5. Let the speaker finish before you start talking or giving solutions.

Most people interrupt others without thinking twice about it, but what they don’t realize is that it’s actually disrespectful. It tells the person talking that you don’t have time for them or their story. It’s impolite to tell others what to do, even if your intentions are good. Even if you think you understand where the conversation is going, be patient and wait for a lull before speaking. Only offer solutions when asked; this rule is especially true when someone just wants to vent.

6. Demonstrate that you’re listening by responding accordingly.

Questions are not the only way to show that you are listening; other responses might include congratulations, commiseration, or a simple nod of the head. Cultivating diverse responses is a key aspect of learning how to listen better, enhancing the richness of your interactions and communication skills.

As the old saying goes, “God gave us two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we talk,” try to take that advice in the workplace. Your colleagues and employers will appreciate your attentiveness, which will make them feel more positive toward you.

This post originally appeared on

[Related: 5 Ways for Type A People to Become Better Listeners]

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