The Art of Listening (Getting Back to Basics)

art of listening

Throughout my career, every so often I need to reflect on an old skill and “get back to basics” as I am now in the Staffing Industry, I am constantly speaking to clients, candidates, and communicating with my team. Regardless of your line of work or industry, getting back to the basics of active listening is essential.

As we get busy in our daily work lives, we can sometimes forget to listen. I have found listening is one of the hardest selling skills or general skillsets to master, yet it reaps the biggest benefit. Tendencies are to want to “sell, sell, sell” and talk about our product or service and how great it is without “listening” to what the customer wants and needs. Customers can be people you work with on a daily basis or even with your family and friends.

Some quick tips to getting back to basics:

  • Always take notes when someone is speaking. Note taking is a great way to force you to actively listen and be able to reflect on your conversation in the future.
  • Allow them to finish their thought. Don’t interrupt someone before they even finish speaking. It’s rude and disrespectful.
  • Use phrases to respond like “I understand” and “I see.” Show the speaker that you are actively listening and understanding what they are saying to you.
  • To be sure you understand what they are saying and ask questions to clarify, if necessary. Say something like: “So what you are saying is…” and refer back to what they said to ensure you understood correctly.
  • DO NOT have distractions while you are listening and look at the person to show interest. If you are speaking in person, make eye contact and have appropriate non-verbal cues to illustrate you are listening to what they have to say.
  • PUT DOWN THAT CELL PHONE. Put down your phone when someone is speaking to you. This is a sign of respect and demonstrates that you value what the person you’re speaking with has to say.

Getting back to basics reminds me of the skills that I learned years and years ago, but sometimes it’s easy to forget to focus on this in my daily life. As a Director of Business Development at JSG, I have to be attentive to the needs of my clients and candidates. I must ensure that my team and I are finding candidates that fit their company, their culture, and have the skill sets necessary to successfully perform the job.

Regardless if it’s a customer, co-worker, or your boss, getting back to the basics and being a good listener will go a long way in your career. Happy Listening!