This may seem cliché, but listening is really the most important fundamental of effective communication. Many times, we listen to respond rather than to understand. Christopher Morley once said “There is only one rule for being a good talker: learn to listen.” We were born with two ears and one mouth for a reason; we should be listening more than we speak!
If you are in a managerial role, it’s your responsibility to listen carefully to what your staff has to say. Find out what their needs, challenges and ideas are, and work closely with them to solve any issues they may be having. If you report to someone, listen carefully to their announcements and instructions the first time, so that they won’t have to be repeated. Don’t forget to listen to one another, and work as a team.
Finally, don’t interrupt! We all remember how rude and awkward it was when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift as she was trying to accept her award at the 2009 VMA’s. Even though we are grown-ups, this doesn’t mean we can abandon the manners we learned as kids. Let the other person completely finish their thought before beginning your own.