Effective Listening Skills


Effective listening skills are the ability to actively understand information provided by the speaker, and display interest in the topic discussed.  It can also include providing the speaker with feedback, such as the asking of pertinent questions; so the speaker knows the message is being understood.


Effective listening skills is one of the talents that a leader or manager must develop to be successful.  Listening skills are also extremely important to an effective exchange between two individuals. Distractions can lead to the ineffective communication of information.  Typical distractions include:

  • Daydreaming
  • Thinking about another topic
  • Lack of interest in the topic

Listed below are skills that a leader can learn, and practice, to make them a more effective listener:

  • The first step to becoming a more effective listener is to act like a good listener.
  • The second step to effective listening is to look at the speaker.  Watching the speaker closely can often reveal the nonverbal signals sent out from the speaker.
  • Once eye contact is made with the speaker, nonverbal signals to the speaker should be sent, which allow him to understand that the listener is engaged in the conversation.
  • Use receptive language when listening; for example use phrases such as "yes" and "uh huh."  It is impossible to listen when speaking.
  • Finally, concentrate on what the speaker is saying.  Listen to their point of view, and do not mentally argue with the speaker. 

The benefits of listening effectively are far reaching to the manager.  This skill can foster trust, reduce conflict, and increase the level of commitment among followers.

Related Terms

social skills, interpersonal skills, conflict resolution, stress management