“The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faces.” (Proverbs 10:8)
Effective listening is a crucial workplace skill. Good listening skills are vital in managing a business and providing a culture of professionalism and respect. However, listening well can be lost in the busyness of the work day. Sometimes, we rush through conversations that should have brought clarity to a situation, addressed critical issues, and decreased conflict. Doing so, we also miss the opportunity to demonstrate professional collaboration.
Were there times this past week when you felt rushed during a conversation and did not take
enough time to listen? If so, you may have found yourself “back-tracking” as you later discovered you were missing important information, or the person you spoke with felt disrespected. Often, poor listening skills lead to poor decision-making and poor relationships. Better listening skills lead to better decision-making and better relationships.
I recently spoke with a colleague who had a very stressful day. This person was physically drained and emotionally drained due to hurt feelings. There was a lack of physical help as well as a lack of “willingness to help.” If I had rushed through what was being said (and not said), I would have missed out on the importance of both issues.
Being a good listener is crucial and a way to take our faith to work. Below are some tips to help develop this skill:
Give your focused attention. Focus on what they are saying and how they are saying it. Focus on the conversation and not what you need to do next.
Resist the urge to interrupt. Listen fully so you can wisely respond based on the information provided.
Show you are listening with physical cues. Look at them in their eyes. Nodding, smiling, and short comments let them know you are engaging in what they are saying.
Ask for clarification. If there is something you have not understood, say something like “If I understand what you are saying, ….” or “Can you clarify what you mean by …”.
Help them listen. When it is time for you to respond, be sure to speak calmly, respectfully, and professionally. Lower your voice and talk kindly if it has been an especially tense conversation.
Last week, we started our list on the differences between speaking wisely and babbling foolishly. In addition to knowing when to stop talking (remember the Traffic Light Rule from last week’s memo?), we are now including “Be Quick to listen and slow to speak” from James 1:9. So, this week at work, my prayer is you, and I will be quick to listen, slow to speak, and know when to stop once we are talking.
Taking This to God in Prayer:
Lord, there is so much we can learn about listening well to the people you have placed in our lives. In this way, we honor You and bless others. In every conversation at work this week, help me be aware if I am being wise or foolish in my communication. Help me be aware if I am not taking time to listen or listening well. Help me realize the importance of being a good listener in my business and personal life so I can honor You and bless others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Praying you have a fantastic week that includes great listening opportunities, and God bless!
Bonny, Christian Women at Work