Are you a good listener at work? Ask yourself these 10 questions

In meetings, do you share your concerns before anyone else? Do you drown out junior colleagues? Yes, you say? You’re a bad listener.

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Where are we? In a business meeting.

Those noises exist just underneath the surface of almost every meeting. The rush of water could be an eager project leader; the hummingbird could be a quiet, smart junior professional; and the buzz saw might be the company’s resident cynic.

The problem is, most professionals don’t want to actively listen anymore. We want to prove we’re the smartest in the room, so we talk, talk and talk. And when we’re not talking, we’re waiting for the next chance to talk.

This is incredibly shortsighted. Do you know what the main goal of any business meeting or discussion is? To build a relationship among individuals. Deliberate, intentional listening allows you to create a foundation of empathy and trust with your peers, clients and new business targets.

Here are 10 questions to help you determine if you are a good business listener. Hint: If you squirm—be honest—over more than three questions, it may be worth it to zip your lips during the next conference call.

1. Do you talk more than others during meetings? Think back. Can you quantify your typical share of dialogue? Is it 15 percent? 30 percent? 50 percent?

2. When you prepare for a networking event, do you research your target’s goals or focus on developing your messages?

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