Administrative/Clerical: Tips for Listening and Comprehension

Clerical workers and administrative assistants rely heavily on listening skills to ensure that they accomplish tasks quickly and effectively. Well-developed skills in listening and comprehension give a worker an edge on their competition and allow them to respond to the underlying needs of their employers as well as the immediate requests of their bosses.

Administrative assistants often work alongside executives and middle managers. These professionals rely on their communication skills to allow them to direct and lead the company at many different levels. Attentive listening is a must when working with people in these positions. You should always strive to make eye contact when listening attentively. Nodding or verbally confirming important information also helps those communicating with you verify that you fully understand the meaning of their verbal communications.

Listening skills go far beyond simple nodding and verbal confirmation of delivered information, though. You must also attempt to empathize with the speaker. Interruptions should be limited to questions about specifics and only made at the end of each train of thought if possible. This will allow information to flow freely during the conversation and help the person delivering the information remain on track. Keeping an open mind during this part of the listening process instead of guessing ahead will allow you to quickly and easily comprehend instructions and react to any deviations from the normal method of operations.

The habit of listening attentively can lead to great success in almost any field, and listening skills do not just allow you to comprehend instructions. Once you have the information, you should confirm it by summarizing the key points of what was said. This also provides your chance to offer feedback. Based on the information and non-verbal clues that you’ve gained up to this point using your listening skills, you may advise a course of action or address concerns previously voiced. You may also wish to use this opportunity to provide further feedback on important points. Remember not to criticize or judge.

Listening skills are one of the most important skills any worker in the workplace can possess. The ability to demonstrate your skills can land you an excellent job as an administrative assistant or clerical worker. Listening attentively with excellent non-verbal feedback, empathizing with the speaker, keeping an open mind, and summarizing can help ensure that you’ve gleaned all that you can from verbally delivered information. Remember that this goes beyond what is said. Non-verbal clues may also impart a large amount of knowledge. Facial expressions and body language are also important parts of speaking and listening effectively. Combining these methods can help develop your listening skills and make you an even more valuable member of your workforce.

Nancy Anderson is the communities and article Editor for  Nancy has 10 years’ experience in the online job search business with Beyond.  Nancy’s team produces dozens of articles every month for top internet sites.  Follow Nancy and the Beyond team on


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