The Importance of Listening Skills in the Communication Process

Two male coworkers talking and listening to each other
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Being able to listen well is crucial to workplace communication skills in any job role. The importance of listening skills in communication cannot be understated. Great listening skills will allow you to perform better, communicate more effectively, understand more, and feel like a part of the team. Great listening skills from both managers and employees will lead to a better working relationship.

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How Listening Skills Can Improve Workplace Performance

A Two-Way Street

Verbal communication should be a two-way street: one person talks while the other person listens, and vice versa. But frequently, we focus more on talking and not enough on listening. This can cause issues in the workplace.

When is Listening Important?

Listening well is a skill that everyone needs, as it is required in nearly all work activities. Areas where listening skills are important include:

  • Teamwork: When team members listen to each other, they are better able to share ideas and solve problems.
  • Decision Making: Making the best possible decisions requires knowing all of the available information, and in order to know all of the information, you need to listen to it and absorb it.
  • Managing and Supervising: Managers need to listen with empathy, compassion, and respect. This will allow employees to feel valued and trusted.
  • Customer Service: Listening patiently and helping the customer fully express their issue can provide the extra insight needed to answer questions and solve problems in a way that satisfies the customer.
  • Sales: Listening to a customer’s needs before you start talking about the sale can provide the information you need to tailor your presentation to the client/customer.
  • Negotiation: If you listen with an open mind, you can find clues as to what terms the other party will and won’t accept.

The Listening Model

The Listening Model depicts the three main dimensions of behaviors and shows the extent to which each is invisible and visible. It’s important to keep this model in mind when thinking of improving communication skills in the workplace. Here are the three main dimensions of the listening model:

  • Staying Focused is mostly invisible and involves clearing and maintaining a mental space that allows you to pay full attention to the speaker.
  • Capturing the Message can be both invisible and visible, and it entails building a complete and accurate understanding of the speaker’s message.
  • Helping the Speaker is mostly visible and refers to the golden rule of listening: listen to others as you would have them listen to you.


If you perform all of these three categories, then you are much more likely to find success in your listening skills.

Learn More

Now that you know the importance of listening skills, want to improve listening skills in your organization? Take a look at the Learning to Listen assessment and workshop training product. With Learning to Listen, you can evaluate current skill levels, show individuals how to take an active role in the listening process, and provide opportunities for practice and development.

tayna longino biopic
Tayna Longino

Tayna Longino is the President and Founder of HR Partners, an interview strategy firm. In this role, Tayna helps clients develop competitive interview strategies. Tayna has had a rewarding career in Human Resources for more than 25 years. Her HR career spans over several industries and specialties, including Finance, IT, Banking, Specialty Materials, Pharmaceuticals, Retail, and Health Care. She has enjoyed a great working relationship as a global business partner with companies such as Bank One, Rohm and Haas, Glaxo Smith Kline, Toyota Financial, and others.

Connect with Tayna on LinkedIn.

Recommended Webinar
How Listening Skills Can Improve Workplace Performance

Improve listening skills and bring real improvements to communication and workplace performance. Determine listening effectiveness in 3 dimensions.

How Listening Skills Can Improve Workplace Performance
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