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Be a Curious Listener in the Workplace

I was on the radio this morning speaking about curiosity. What does it mean to be curious? One of the listeners on the program noted that asking questions is "an inquisitive way to learn what coworkers and supervisors expect of you".  Her statement made me pause. Sure! Ask questions to clear up what has been said and find out more information. You can ask coworkers to be a bit more specific or what it is that makes them think the way they do.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your supervisor to clarify what has been said. When you want to find out more information, you can probe for additional details. Probing what your coworker said can help you explore issues at greater depth, especially confusing aspects of an assignment. But be careful. Don’t overuse this step, or they will feel as though you are interrogating them. Clarifying examples include:

·       “Would you give me an example?”

·       “Why is that?”

·       “Could you tell me more?”


Here are 10 tips to be a curious listener:

 1. Prepare yourself to listen and keep check of your own emotional state.

 2. Face the speaker and maintain comfortable eye contact.

 3. Mix up facial expressions and occasionally nod your head.

 4. Keep your body movement’s fluid, lean in and maintain comfortable physical distance to speaker.

 5. Focus your energy on what the speaker is saying and attempt to understand the meaning of what is being said.

6. Refocus your mind when it wanders.

7. Don’t interrupt and pause before you respond to what has been said.

 8. Be aware of the tone of your voice and use an appropriate pace when speaking.

 9. Make it possible for different learners to get the most out of group.

10. Pay attention to the energy in the room.

 There you have it! 10 tips for effective listening. What other tips would you add to the list?