Communication is an important part of building a team, creating a thriving company culture, and increasing productivity and effectiveness. Studies have shown that a large percentage of people listen less effectively than they believe, however, listening is a skill that can set your team and company apart. It sets up the stage for creating a cohesive environment, in which individuals thrive, and actively take pride in their role.
To help your employees and team become better listeners follow these simple tips:
Encourage questions. Create an environment where individuals are encouraged to ask questions – whether to clarify direction, further understand an assignment, or out of simple curiosity. This means treating all questions as important and equal and never embarrassing a person for asking a question that may seem silly or out of context. If our minds can’t understand what is being said, it will generally block the flow of listening and distract the individual as they seek to figure it out internally.
Let people finish their thoughts. This applies to the listener and the speaker. People need a chance to work through their thoughts and express all the pieces for discussion. The majority of people are already thinking of a response before a person is finished speaking – instead, set the example that individuals should not be interrupted. Task your employees with writing down their thoughts while others are speaking so nothing is lost, their turn can be had once the other person’s thoughts are complete. This can decrease misunderstood communications between multiple parties.
Keep open communication. Foster an environment where individuals feel safe and comfortable asking questions, being inquisitive, and having an open line of communication. An open communication policy ensures that all of your team members will ask questions when needed, even if they find themselves in a situation that is uncomfortable.
Altogether, work to create a team of employees that listen and are actively participating in what’s happening around them. You can also keep meetings short and concise, give breaks during longer meetings, and provide healthier food choices to keep individuals more alert.