Effective communication in the workplace involves more than just
talking; it requires a structured way of listening and responding. Actively
communicating and engaging with co-workers can help create effective and positive
working relationships where workers feel valued and respected. It also supports
a mentally healthy workplace.
Actively listening shows that you are interested and care what the person has
to say or feels. Your attention is focused on the other person in an attempt to
understand, interpret, and evaluate what they are telling you. You are not
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has published tips to
help to actively listen, be genuine and show empathy.
- Make eye contact. Note that in some cultures, excessive eye contact can be seen
as inappropriate, aggressive, or rude. Be intentional, but don't stare.
- Focus on what is being said. Do not do other activities at the same time such
as checking for e-mails or texting on your phone.
- Listen and allow the person to speak. Do not interrupt. You may want to "fix
things, but if you have not heard the entire situation, you may be fixing the
- Allow pauses. Some people may need time to think about and formulate their
answers. Do not pressure someone to answer quickly.
- Ask questions. If something is not clear, asking for more detail about it in a
friendly and non-judgmental way shows interest and concern.
- Repeat for confirmation. When you repeat what you heard, you reduce the chance
of misperceptions and confusion. Give the other person a chance to correct any
misunderstanding of what you think you heard.
- Reflect on what you heard.
- Listen between the lines. Look for clues in body language that may reveal how
the person is feeling about what they are talking about (posture, facial
expressions, eye contact, etc.)
By practicing active listening techniques, colleagues can help develop more
effective and positive working relationships, and a stronger, more supportive
AplusA-online.de - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety