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Improving Listening Skills to Communicate Effectively

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 18 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Communication Skills Colleagues Staff

In order to communicate information or requirements more effectively and efficiently you will have to improve, and acquire, certain key skills. The best communicators are proficient in relaying verbal and written information with ease, and are able to convey messages clearly and successfully. Being able to communicate in this manner will improve and increase your productivity, and will also ensure your messages are understood.

Solutions for Improvement.

Listening skills can be instantly improved in a number of simple ways. Being prepared to acknowledge that your skills require improvement is the first step to implementing effective changes. Exploring solutions can then be realistically considered.

Ideas for consideration could include:

  • Working to a Brief.
  • Communicating one-to-one.
  • Note taking.
  • Coaching staff.
  • Asking for Feedback.
  • There are, however, many obstacles to applying effective listening techniques and these must be overcome before further plans to improve skills progress. These obstacles include the tendency to judge, interfere, probe, label, lecture and distract, to name but a few easily-formed habits.

    Keeping It Brief.

    Selecting to work to a brief can enable you to outline important messages more clearly and succinctly, and can also help you avoid unnecessary misunderstandings or confusion in communication. A brief may consist of a report or action plan that gives details of your proposal. A written brief gives colleagues and staff a document that identifies your intentions, although verbally briefing can be just as effective.

    Open Communication.

    Communicating your message in person, to one person at a time, is a highly effective method of achieving a successful outcome. There are no fixed guidelines to communicating in this way, but sticking to an agenda and putting your point across quickly and clearly will ensure your message is heard. Summing up at the end of your meeting enables you to reinforce your message and to check that the other person has fully understood your requirements.

    Take Note.

    Making simple notes, whilst you listen, will enable you to refresh your memory in an instant. This is a useful way of absorbing information that you may require at a later stage. Document important key words, vital information or anything else that will make your subsequent tasks simpler. Doing this allows you to retain a larger amount of information and increases your listening ability.

    Effective Coaching.

    In order to work more effectively and efficiently it is important to know how to encourage other people to raise their performance and goals, in the workplace. Effective coaching not only inspires staff and colleagues to strive for improvement, but it also allows you to practice active listening.

    Coaching should not be restricted to performance reviews and appraisals however, and can be used to best effect in a more empathetic manner. Listening to what people have to say, about how they feel about their work environment and responsibilities, will also enable you to identify how they can increase their skills and productivity along with ways in which you can work more efficiently yourself.


    Encouraging colleagues and staff to provide you with regular feedback will allow you to improve on your skills continually. Regularly sharing information in this way helps you to identify any areas where your performance could be improved.

    It is also important to give feedback to show that you are listening to comments made by others, as this will encourage them to continue providing you with their opinions, views and thoughts.

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