Make us your home page

Good listening skills can help advance your career

Good listening is an essential career skill. The best managers and executives usually are good listeners. But that's not always a skill that happens naturally. It can take work. Laura Janusik, associate professor of communication at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., and current president of the International Listening Association, says active listening can help job hunters and workers alike.

Good listening means you:

• Pay attention.

• Don't interrupt or talk over the other person.

• Confirm what you heard so the other person knows you understood what was intended.

• Use eye contact, head nods and verbal cues (uh-huh) while the other person is talking.

• Remember who told you what so you can properly give credit where due.

Janusik says good communication skills are ranked among the top prerequisites for many jobs, but it's a mistake to think that only means the ability to speak well. Listening skills need to be fine-tuned, too.

"Research shows there's a distinction between listening for and listening to," she said. "Often we listen for what we think we're going to hear. We put a filter on and don't hear the whole message.

"And that's why confirming is so important. It gives the speaker the opportunity to correct you if you misunderstood."

Janusik said research also shows that women tend to give more "behavioral listening" cues — eye contact and nods — than men.

Men hear and understand just as well as women, but if they don't give the same visual cues, they may have more trouble building relationships that help build workplace rapport, she said.

Research also shows that men may be more likely to cut off the "venting" part of a conversation and jump to the "fix it" stage, she said.

That can be good for getting things resolved quickly, but it also can stop the exchange of information and trust-building that improves professional relationships.

Diane Stafford is the workplace and careers columnist at the Kansas City Star.

Good listening skills can help advance your career 01/04/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks


    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  2. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  3. Guilty plea for WellCare Health Plans former counsel Thaddeus Bereday


    Former WellCare Health Plans general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District …

    WellCare Health Plans former general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District of Florida stated Wednesday. [LinkedIn handout]
  4. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes


    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community over the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at DOT's Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Ave. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON | Times]
  5. Claim: State pressured CFO, used secret recordings to shut down Universal Health Care


    ST. PETERSBURG — The founder of St. Petersburg's Universal Health Care alleges that Florida regulators conspired with the company's chief financial officer to drive the once high-flying Medicare insurer out of business.

    Federal agents raided the headquarters of Universal Health Care in 2013, ordering employees to leave the building. The insolvent St. Petersburg Medicare insurer was then in the process of being liquidated by state regulators.
[DIRK SHADD   |   Times file photo]