Rarely will you ever see “Active Listening” as a requirement on a job post. It is assumed that you will listen as we all do. The challenge is that most people listen with the sole intent to reply. So what is the difference? In simple terms, Active Listening is listening with the intent to understand vs listening with the intent to reply.
I recently shared this with my son. We were having a conversation and I could see that he was innately listening with the intent to reply, as his father has done so most of his life. I shared with him the difference between the both and it was like a lightbulb went off. The very next time we were talking he reminded me about active listening and I could not have been more proud of him for even understanding the concept (and the importance), and adopting it so soon!
There are several blogs out there with keen insight to active listening. For example, here is a helpful blog that lists the visual cues of an active listener. While all valid, it is pretty simple to spot someone who is actively listening by actively listening to them!
When you actively listen in business, you are freeing up your mind to understand your customer. You are taking off your manager hat and you are listening to your employees to thoroughly understand their position. When someone feels heard, they feel valued. A valued customer or employee is less apt to seek out another suitor. People who feel heard will tell you everything you need to know. Extra credit tip: This works amazing on significant others too!