Skills in the Workplace – are you an active listener?

By Marketing Assistant, Lucy Moult

22 July 2022


It’s a simple concept, when someone speaks, you listen. But in reality, people are often “far too busy” to stop and truly engage in a conversation. We’ve all had moments where we start chatting to someone and their eyes begin to wander around the room or they check their phone whilst you’re finishing a sentence. This is usually followed by, “sorry I missed that. Can you say that again?”. Equally, we have all been guilty of it too. That feeling of embarrassment when you lost focus during a meeting or group discussion and had to guess at what was just said.

If you consider yourself a ‘bad listener’, what can you do to improve this skill? Consciously making the decision to ask a colleague how they are or starting a conversation around the holiday they had last week are easy ways to check in and build relationships.


Our top tips on how to be an active listener


Going a step further and acting upon what someone has said shows that their words had meaning and you remembered the conversation. Sending them a card on their birthday, buying them their favourite snack on your lunch break, or following up on an issue they raised are simple ways to show that you truly listened.

The wonderful thing about listening is that, whether you have an interest in what someone is saying or not, allowing them to speak and be heard will have a positive impact on their mental wellbeing. You may never know that your employee is going through a hard time if you don’t ask. After taking part in a workplace wellbeing course, 93% of workers said that it helped them to recognise emotional distress in others and 90% felt more confident approaching a colleague in distress (Source: Samaritans, Wellbeing in the Workplace). Learning the correct skills and building confidence might also reveal a new friendship or inspire collaboration – increasing workplace productivity.


Things to consider in the workplace to encourage active listening:


Every July, Samaritans run their awareness-raising campaign Talk to Us, to remind people of the great work they do and being there for so many people who are struggling. The Samaritans Awareness Day takes place on the 24th July because Samaritans are there for you 24/7. Whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans anytime, from any phone, on 116 123.


Get involved on social media by hashtagging #TalkToUs and #SamaritansAwarenessDay



Samaritans Talk to Us campaign:

*Workplace staff training:

Samaritans online training:

** St John’s Ambulance Mental Health First Aider training:

Forbes 10 Steps to Effective Listening:


Samaritans Contact Information


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