What are active listening skills and why is it important?
Possessing active listening skills is an asset of a suitable candidate.
Active listening is a way of giving undivided attention to the speaker while grasping all that is being said.
In contrast to passive listening, wherein the listener may simply be hearing the words without providing any response, an active listener paraphrases and interacts with the speaker with an in-depth understanding.
With practice, you can improve your active listening skills by making an effort to focus, acknowledge, and provide a suitable response when the person is speaking to you.
The ability to actively listen can make a substantial difference in your work efficiency and can even improve the quality of relationships you have with your colleagues, friends, and family.
Active listening skills are a part of your interpersonal and soft skills, which is a crucial criterion in numerous job profiles.
So how can you hone your active listening skills and make yourself a compelling candidate in the sight of the recruiters?
In this blog, you will be able to find an answer to that question and other related FAQs like:
- Why are active listening skills important?
- What are the examples of active listening?
- How to develop 7 key active listening skills?
- How to showcase active listening skills on your resume?
- What are the 3 A's of active listening?
Uses of Active Listening Skills in Various Industries
Possessing active listening skills is important in every workplace to efficiently perform allotted tasks and even to grow businesses.
Active listening can help you absorb vital information related to your businesses by identifying areas of improvement for your products and services based on the customer’s perspective.
Plus, if you don’t understand the instructions and purpose of the tasks when it is being verbally communicated, you definitely won’t be able to execute them as expected.
In certain job profiles, active listening skills directly impact your candidacy and is more than just an asset.
Active Listening Skills in Customer Service
If you are in the customer service team of any industry, you must be able to listen and understand the customer’s grievances and feedback to act on them.
If the customer comes up with an issue that needs to be resolved immediately, how would you take the necessary steps if you don’t listen and comprehend their perspective?
Therefore, to achieve 100% customer satisfaction and resolve issues, your active listening skills have to be exemplary.
Active Listening Skills in Sales Department
To be a successful sales representative, it is necessary to build rapport and trust with the customers.
Rapport is built when there is proper communication and mutual understanding between the salesperson and the prospect.
You need to listen more than you speak to gather information about the customer’s likes and dislikes, which will ultimately help you close the sale.
Active listening also helps avoid miscommunication, which then helps build a trusting relationship that will benefit both parties in the long run.
Active Listening Skills in Classrooms
To foster a healthy learning environment, teachers must facilitate an interactive session wherein the student’s queries and perspectives are heard without prior assumptions.
If the teachers assume the reason behind a student’s inability to learn something, the teacher has already failed to identify the gaps in the student’s understanding.
Thus, to effectively help students learn better in the classroom, teachers need to implement their critical listening or active listening skills and recognize the learning blocks without prior judgment.
Examples of Active Listening
The method of communication between any parties is not limited to verbal dialogue.
Meaning, your body language and nonverbal cues make up for half of the communication.
Similarly, when practicing or showcasing your active learning skills, simply listening attentively is not enough.
Here are some practices that showcase one’s active learning skills:
Maintaining Eye Contact
Generally, when a person is verbally communicating any information, instruction, or simply sharing their perspective, you should make eye contact with the speaker.
Not looking at the speaker when he/she is talking is a clear sign of disinterest and lack of attentiveness.
Appropriate Body Language
Practicing the following non-verbal cues as a part of active listening will let the speaker know that you are paying heed to their words:
- Facing the speaker
- Nodding occasionally
- Leaning towards the person
- Avoiding fidgety body language
- Maintaining suitable facial expressions
- Maintaining an open and interested posture
To maintain the flow of the conversation and show that you are actively listening to the speaker, you must provide small verbal assurances like “uh-huh”, “yes”, “and?”.
Do not abruptly interrupt, but know when to ask reflective questions, reiterate and provide appropriate feedback.
You can also paraphrase the speaker to confirm what the speaker is trying to say.
If you are not sure about what they mean, ask open-ended questions.
7 Key Active Listening Skills
To become a good listener and master your active listening skills, practice these 7 techniques of active listening:
- Stay focused. Pay attention to the speaker without getting distracted to fully comprehend the information.
- Avoid making mental judgments. Be neutral and listen to the speaker without assumptions.
- Do not interrupt and ask counter questions before the speaker gets a chance to communicate the entire information.
- Practice patience and show empathy. Without patience and having empathy, you cannot be a good listener.
- Avoid changing the topic abruptly. Directly changing the topic of the conversation hints at your disinterest in what the other person has to say.
- Retain the information that the other person is providing. The whole point of active listening is to absorb and comprehend verbal information.
- Practice the 3 A’s of active listening.
Active Listening Skills Resume
Since active listening skills are one of the important soft skills that employers value, showcasing your active listening skills on your resume can help impress the recruiters.
So how can you effectively showcase active listening skills in your resume?
Besides directly listing it in the skills section of your resume, you can also demonstrate it through your professional experience.
If in your past roles you utilized active listening skills to resolve an issue or to achieve a goal, include such instances in your professional experience section like so:
"Utilized active listening skills while interacting with clients to fully comprehend the product specifications and goals."
You can also use words that showcase various listening skills. For instance, to effectively resolve conflicts, strike a negotiation, and to provide excellent customer service, people need to have good listening skills.
If you've been a part of such scenarios in your past roles, include those details in your resume.
You must read the job listing to identify keywords from the listed soft skill requirements and accordingly include those keywords in your resume.
Another section where you can demonstrate your active listening skills on your resume is the summary section.
You can start the sentences on your resume's summary with words like "Effectively communicated", "collaborated" "liaised", and other words that demonstrate active listening skills.
Also read: What skills to put on resume
Key Points from the Blog:
- Active listening is a way of listening to the speaker with undivided attention and being able to fully grasp and comprehend what is being said
- An active listener paraphrases and interacts with the speaker with a proper understanding of the information
- Active listening helps you avoid miscommunication, build rapport, and provide 100% customer satisfaction
- Active listening can help you absorb vital information related to your businesses by identifying areas of improvement based on the customer’s perspective
- As a teacher, your active listening skills can facilitate an efficient learning environment and resolve student’s learning blocks
- Maintaining eye contact and occasionally nodding your head is part of non-verbal cues that demonstrate active learning skills
- Provide appropriate responses and ask open-ended questions to continue the conversation
- Avoid interrupting and abruptly changing the topic when the other person is speaking. Wait for your turn to ask clarifying questions