Do you hear me now? …How about now?

 In 6. Tracy Yandow, Employees, Of Interest, Operations

by Tracy Yandow

We know you expect your employees to listen to you, but the question is, do you listen to your employees?

I mean REALLY listen?

When business seems to be going in overdrive, and you have too many things on your plate, it is important to remember — take time to listen to your employees.

Letting employees talk is not the same as listening.

You have to work at it, the same way you work at anything else you want to succeed at.

Here are five ways to make you a better listener:

1. Stop what you are doing. As soon as an employee comes to you and wants to talk, put away whatever you’re working on. Remove all temptation to do anything other than give your full attention to the employee.

2. No comment. One of the first signs that someone isn’t listening is when he or she cuts off the talker in mid-sentence or mid-thought. Make sure your employee is finished before you begin speaking.

3. Body language. You’ll be amazed at the effect a simple smile can have. By smiling and leaning forward, you send the message that you’re fully engaged in what the person is saying.

4. Ask questions and/or repeat the point. Always ask questions or repeat back the major point the employee is trying to get across. Questions tell the employee that you’ve been listening, and are truly committed to resolving whatever issue is being discussed.

5. Answer any questions and provide your comments. Start your own comments by paraphrasing what the employee had to say. Again, this tells the employee that you’ve been listening. Then provide the necessary response or direction to the employee. Make sure they understand your comments by asking them if you have answered the question to their satisfaction.

Tracy Yandow is the founder and chief instructional designer for The Manual Solution, a professional documentation writing, instructional design service and partner in product. The Manual Solution provides a wide range of documentation and operational solutions to companies across the nation. Tracy partnered with David Scott Peters, restaurant expert, to produce restaurant specific training manuals for full service and quick service restaurants. Find out more at

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