In today’s fast-paced society, it is important to be an efficient listener. In the workplace, a short meeting can usually be completed in about 10 minutes. If a manager spends the majority of those 10 minutes expressing their thoughts and ideas on what has been happening or what they want to happen, then no one else will have had a chance to speak at all. A good leader should make use of those few precious moments by asking questions so everyone can contribute their thoughts and ideas, says Georges Chahwan. It is often necessary for leaders to set expectations before meetings start, but this must take place without dominating the whole discussion which affects others’ ability to share their own input.

During the actual meeting itself, if there are decisions that need to be made it may be necessary to ask questions and create a series of prompts so everyone gets a chance to contribute. People don’t like having the floor taken away from them, even if they know it’s necessary, so great care must be taken in order for people not to feel as though their ideas aren’t worth sharing or that they’ll be shot down without ever getting heard.

A good listener will allow others their own time to speak and won’t attempt interrupting until given permission by the speaker; allowing the conversation between two participants is vital to effective communication, adds Georges Chahwan. A person who dominates conversations can make those around them feel as though they cannot express part of their thoughts and opinions during discussions, and this can lead to frustration and stress since talking about work-related issues can be a healthy way to take a break from the day-to-day grind.