What is the Most Underrated Skill?

John Krautzel
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Communication is an important job skill that any candidate needs to succeed in any job setting. This soft skill lets your employer know how you talk to people, write emails and relate to a team of colleagues. One particular aspect of communication is, perhaps, the most underrated skill that business professionals should have. Discover the role that active listening plays in your professional life and why you should master it.

What Is Active Listening?

Active listening gets to the heart of a conversation, but it takes a concerted effort to understand how this job skill works. You have to concentrate on the conversation to get the context of what's happening. Then, you develop an idea as to what someone truly needs rather than focusing on your own issues or agenda. The point of active listening is to make the other side feel valued with the goal of getting another person or team to agree with what you're proposing.

Although active listening comes through in huge ways when it comes to sales, this job skill is important for anyone in a firm, from the CEO down to entry-level employees. That's because everyone benefits from people who listen well.

Why Learn Active Listening?

Active listening leads to better engagement among employees and better engagement when it comes to customer interactions. Boosting engagement keeps loyal customers, prevents higher turnover rates and improves morale at your company. Take a look at five ways to start mastering active listening as a way to improve your job skill set.

1. Maintain Eye Contact

Maintain eye contact with the person speaking. This shows that you are listening intently and taking in everything the person has to say. Paying attention lets you gain insights into what the person says and how he says it.

2. Look for Value

Appreciate what the other person says. even if you feel as if the person in front of you does not articulate well. Decide the valid points that the other person is making so you can ask relevant questions to get more answers. When you get more answers to their questions, you can develop a strategy for dealing with the situation, whether you are in a sales presentation or a staff meeting.

3. Listen More, Talk Less

You might have a preconceived notion of how the meeting should go, but you are there to solve someone else's problem and not your own. When you make the meeting about your customer, client or team member, you achieve a better outcome because the other side feels as if you made them a priority.

4. Get to the Core of the Matter

When you actively listen as an important job skill, you reach conclusions based on what people say to you. Relaying your insights to another team proves to them that you listened, but also that you care about their outcomes.

5. Follow Up

Active listening doesn't stop once you walk out the door or hang up the phone. Follow up to make sure you fully understand what happened during your meeting.

Active listening is one of the most underrated skills you can learn. Take this job skill to new heights with these tips and see what happens with your company's growth and your professional development.

Photo courtesy of Alan Ron at Flickr.com


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  • Eric D.
    Eric D.

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Mary B thanks for your note. You can always highlight this, copy it and then paste it into a word or text file. You can always email it to yourself, too. See the icons under the Posted by at the top of this? The email one is the last icon. Thank you again.

  • Mary B.
    Mary B.

    Excellent advice! Is there a way to download this, I really need to soak this in. Do you have any more suggestions I would really like to hear them thank you so much

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

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  • Christy L.
    Christy L.

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  • Billie C.
    Billie C.

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  • Rosemary M.
    Rosemary M.

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