Want To Be Happy At Work? Develop Good Listening Techniques

ListeningTo be really happy at work you must learn to listen to others.  If someone offers negative feedback on your work it is important to listen and understand before you get defensive and try to justify your actions. Someone once said we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason.  If you want to be happy at work you must trust your team and they must trust you.  Being a good listener is an important step in building trust. A good relationship with your team is part of being happy at work. Here are 10 tips to help you become a good listener.


  1. Stay present – Don’t let your mind wander.  Many people spend the time that the other person is speaking composing a response before the speaker has a chance to completely finish his/her thought.  Listen deeply to what is being said.
  1. Make eye contact – Let the speaker see your interest by regularly making eye contact.
  1. Ask questions for clarification – This is not your time to respond.  Get really clear about what is being said.  If you don’t understand, ask questions in an open non-charged manner.
  1. Acknowledge feelings – If the speaker is telling you something about his/her feelings, acknowledge them.  You don’t have to agree to show that you see the speaker is upset or happy about something.
  1. Restate or paraphrase – Make sure you are getting the information the speaker is presenting by periodically repeating what you hear in different words the speakers.  “Let me see if I’ve got it so far?”
  1. Seek first to understand and then to be understood – This is Stephen Covey’s 5th habit. Before you state your thoughts and ideas make sure you totally understand and acknowledge the speakers thoughts.  Restate in your words what you thought you heard and then listen to the speaker for clarification.
  1. Give nonverbal feedback – While the speaker is speaking, be sure to smile, nod, frown, shrug your shoulders, or raise your eyebrows – whatever is appropriate.  You want the speaker to know you are with him/her.
  1. Be Silent – Don’t be afraid of this.  Periods of total quiet will allow you and the speaker to think about what was said.  When you are sure the speaker has completed his/her thoughts on the subject it will be time for you to comment.
  1. Take in all the information both verbal and nonverbal – Focus on the meaning of what is being said and also what is not being said. Sometimes it is important to ask about what is not being said.  Carefully watch and listen for unexpressed thoughts or feelings.  What does the person’s body language tell you?
  1. Get permission – Sometimes people just want to be heard.  At other times they are seeking advice.  Give advice only when requested and only after the person has had a chance to give you the whole story.  If you are not sure, ask if the person is looking for your input or just your understanding.

Coaching helps you to be happy at work.

Listening is the most important part of communication.  You use it in all your interpersonal communications with employees, colleagues, direct reports, family and friends.   How is your listening affecting your work?  Do you find it difficult to get your point across?  Do you get the feeling some people in your organization just don’t get it?  Your listening skills may or may not be the issue here. As a coach I can help you to find solutions to these and other work related problems.  If you want to be happy at work, call me at 781-598-0388 or email me at asparker@asparker.com


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