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Are you listening?Are others listening to you? 5 quick tips on both!

Updated: Jun 2, 2022

Listening is so important, at work, at home with anyone you meet. In the video we watched the little girls screaming for their dad to pay attention to them. This could easily happen in the workplace. People want to be heard, and when they are not they will continue to try different tactics to see what works, and may even get louder and more aggressive until they are heard. But it doesn’t have to be so dramatic. Here are 5 easy tips to show people you are listening.

  1. Acknowledge them. It can be so frustrating when we feel like we are just talking and talking and no one is even paying attention. When someone is trying to get your attention it’s ok to pause your current conversation and let the second person know you hear them and will be with them shortly. It also lets the person trying to get your attention know that you do in fact hear them.

  2. Give them your full attention. We are busy, we live in a busy world but to really show people you are listening, stop what you are doing. I’ll say it again in case you were doing something else. Stop engaging in whatever will take you away from the person in front of you. Make them feel like they are the most important thing in front of you for the next, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 10 minutes or 60 minutes. Give them the attention they deserve. Don’t scroll your phone, or type out your next assignment. Stop what you are doing and pay attention.

  3. Physically shift towards the person. Have you ever tried talking to someone who was looking at you but their body language conveyed they were not engaging. I’ve definitely done this. I will be asked a question, I will turn my head but the rest of my body is still turned elsewhere. If you physically shift towards the person and lean in to what they are saying, you are actively showing them with your body that you are listening.

  4. Don’t think about what you are going to say next. It is so easy to pretend to listen but really you are thinking about a question you want to ask, or a really cool response you want to say (I am guilty of this all the time). Actively engage your ears and your brain and take in what other people are saying. By actively engaging we are focusing all our attention and brain power to hear and absorb what is being said. When that happens then we can have a great dialogue because you’ve actually taken in the information.

  5. Be genuine with your response. You don’t have to go into a whole active listening technique where you affirm what you've heard, & you paraphrase what you’ve heard to convey the act of hearing. Just simply answer genuinely and curiously. Instead of just saying “oh wow, that’s great.” Something like “ I’m truly moved by the fact that you did X project, how did you come up with that idea?” I spoke from a place of emotion and genuine feeling and I asked a deep question that affirmed I was listening and paying attention.

These 5 tips are super simple, they are not rocket science but will instantly help you become a better listener to those around you, and it will show the people you are talking to that you care about what they have to say. People want to be heard, and listened to and valued for their opinions and thoughts.

The trickier part of the equation is actually getting people to listen to the directions you are giving. Why do some people not follow the directions you give? Here are 5 quick checks to see how your directions are coming across.

  1. Are your directions understandable? When giving your directions or asking your questions do you know if your recipient understands what’s being asked. Are you giving so much backstory the original question got lost? Are you using so much technical jargon that no one but a theoretical physicist understands? Make sure you are asking in a way that’s effective and efficient for the intended recipient. Since we all have different personalities and communication styles we all interpret differently. Make sure you are being clear to that specific individual.

  2. How are you asking? Are you really demanding something be done but pretending to ask? “ I need this report done NOW, Okay?” I’m not really asking. I’m telling them and pretending it’s a question. How we phrase things can make all the difference to our results.

  3. Are you giving gratitude after you ask or a task is completed? When people feel valued or thanked for their efforts they are more likely to reach out a helping hand next time. When we don’t thank people or give them gratitude we are essentially shutting a door in their face after we snatch that report from their hands. Continually praise and thank people after they have done something for you to show them you care about them. When we are cared about and valued we are often more willing to comply, follow directions and be helpful.

  4. Are your expectations realistic or nonexistent? One big reason it may seem like what you are asking people to do isn’t getting done, is because of the unrealistic expectations or expectations that weren’t expressed. Be very clear and upfront with when you expect things to be done, how you expect things done. Setting your expectations up from the very beginning will greatly diminish the chances of feeling like you're not seeing the results you were hoping for.

  5. Ask for feedback. Am I making sense? Is this doable? Can we get that done? Are we clear? Do you have everything you need to complete this? Do you need help on that part? Ask the person how they feel about it? Are you comfortable with this task? Getting feedback is essential for getting the results you want. You may think you’ve covered all of the instructions, but never sought feedback from the recipient and it turns out they hated the project and weren’t cut out for it. Since you never asked for any feedback they always continued doing it while they hated it. But maybe had you known that wasn’t their strong suit you could’ve given that project to someone who would’ve loved it.

If you or someone know you know could benefit from more in depth coaching on communication and personality styles in the workplace email me at:

Watch more hilarious examples of workplace pitfalls on:

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