There is good reason to listen, and there are five reasons why we listen, and it has a big impact in how we respond.

The first reason we listen is to advise and evaluate.  We respond by saying something like, “You should…or …you ought to…or…if I were you this is what I would do.”

The second reason why we listen is to analyze and interpret.  Then the first thing out of our mouth is something like, “You know what your problem is…or…what’s going on here is…”

The third reason why we listen is to reassure and support people.  We do this by saying something like, “I believe in you…or…I believe in you job skills…or I believe in your good judgment…”

The fourth reason why we listen is to question and probe.  Asking “What” or “How” questions to get the facts and lead the other person to their own conclusions.

The final reason why we listen is to paraphrase and understand.  We do this by responding with something like, “If I understand you correctly you’re thinking…or…feeling…a certain way.”

If we spend just a little bit more time delivering paraphrasing and understanding, questioning and probing, and reassuring and supporting responses…we might not ever have to tell a coworker what their problem is or what they should do.  You can foster a supportive communication climate through positive listening behaviors.

If you and your coworkers are struggling with really listening to each other, contact me at and I will provide a speech, seminar, workshop, or a live virtual presentation, that will enhance listening skills and improve relationships.