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Effective communication in the workplace
Effective communication in the workplace

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2.3 Showing interest

It is not enough just to listen, you have to show people you are listening. If someone is speaking to you and they don’t get any feedback, it is almost impossible to carry on. This could be non-verbal e.g. using facial expressions such as smiling or nodding to show your interest, or verbal but not intrusive, such as using vocal ‘expressions’ like ‘Uh huh’ or ‘Mmm’.

Making eye contact with the speaker is generally encouraging; but eye contact can be intimidating, especially for shy speakers, so try to gauge how much eye contact is appropriate for any given situation.

A photograph of two colleagues conversing.
Figure 5 An example of showing interest in a conversation.

Although some positive words of encouragement may be beneficial to the speaker, the listener should use them sparingly. Casual and frequent use of words and phrases, such as ‘very good’, ‘yes’ or ‘indeed’ can become irritating to the speaker.