HR professionals are in the unique position of being able to cover both the organization or company they are working for, and the employees it employs. This means HR Managers need to be able to speak well, to research, to understand both sides, but also, crucially, to be able to listen to others. Here’s how HR managers can improve their listening skills:
1. Engage in Active Listening
Understand the nonverbal communication of your employee when they are speaking. This means facial expressions, body language, intonation, pace etc… however, do remember that not all people communicate the same way nonverbally; for example those on the Autism spectrum offer suffer due to their body language being misinterpreted.
2. Get Off the Electronic Devices
Multitasking is not going to help a conversation. Neuro-wires will get crossed and not only that, if you are using other devices while someone speaks they will feel that they are not being listened to or taken seriously.
3. Steer Straight – No Tangent Highways or Scenic Routes
Even if the speaker goes off on small tangents, listen to the key message and don’t get distracted. If you express your own opinion on the side point, it could derail and distract the whole conversation. Let the speaker have ample room for self-expression without being pinned down on small points.
4. Avoid Misunderstandings
If you feel confused by what the other person is saying, do not make assumptions, but instead ask follow up questions to clarify their point of view and needs. Try to avoid selective hearing or misunderstanding on purpose – it helps no one.
5. Be Patient
Multiple studies prove that patience is the key virtue of effective listeners. By responding too soon to a statement or discussion, a listener can miss the key gist of what was being said. Step back, don’t jump into the conversation, so you can understand then repeat the key points back to the speaker.