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Effective and powerful leaders are good listeners.  The same is true with successful CEOs. If you’re looking for a few ways to improve your listening skills, reflect on these 7 key points.

    1. Put away the phone.  When an employee or coworker comes to you with a concern or idea, put away the distractions and devote your entire attention to that individual.
    2. Ask for thoughts.  If you’re in a meeting, allot time for coworkers to voice their views on the subject. Part of being an effective listener is providing yourself with the opportunity to listen.  
    3. Use your eyes.  Obviously, you hear with your ears, but looking at the speaker and noting body language might speak louder than the actual words being said.  When you direct your eyes towards the speaker, that individual also understand that he or she has your full attention.
    4. Do not interrupt.  Show support for your coworkers by letting them speak without interruption.  Even if their opinions disagree with you, listening without interruption will increase the chances of facilitating a fruitful meeting.  
    5. Make time.  CEO schedules can be crazy.  Block out time a few days a week for meetings with coworkers and simply practice internal listening.
    6. Respond with questions.  Before launching into your own thoughts, ask questions.  Repeat what your employee just told you and ask questions to clarify any of your questions.  You and your coworker need to be on the same page to make any progress.
    7. Press pause and think. Take a moment before you respond to your employee.  Consider the pros and cons of your conversation and what it means for the company.  Some meetings might present a lot more information, so it’s not a bad idea to take a few notes and respond with in a day or two.  



Before your next meeting pick one or two of these points and practice.  With time, you’ll experience the benefits of an effective listener.