While it may seem like listening is something we all do, it’s actually an important professional skill and one that must be honed if we are to effectively practice it. According to a study from Wright State University, the average person listens at about 25 percent efficiency. This can lead to misunderstandings, mistakes, and confusion in the workplace, which can in turn have negative business outcomes like decreasing morale, increasing levels of disengagement, and even turnover. To help sharpen this skill, ask for feedback. After having an interaction, ask if you looked distracted or engaged. Ask if you interrupted too much or if the person you were speaking with felt heard. It can also help to frequently paraphrase the other person's thoughts in your replies to convey that you listened to and understood what they were saying and to limit distractions as much as possible. This skill is critically important for managers. One of the best ways to increase employee engagement is to create an environment where everyone feels psychologically safe, and a big part of that making sure that team members feel heard when they speak up.
Becoming a Better Listener