Listening matters. It is a topic that has sparked many debates, and has influenced decades of research, as it is one of the most important tools that we have at our disposal.

To hear someone speak is entirely different than to actively listen to them. This has been my personal guiding principle in the past several months, and by keeping it on the forefront of my mind I have increased my active, and effective, listening skills tremendously.

Listening is important in many facets of life. In the workplace, it is critical to effectively listen as some safety processes could be in place; which if not followed properly could harm someone. In our personal lives, it is important to listen to our family, especially when our children are hurting or something is troubling them.

Some simple quick fixes to actively listen are to: keep eye-contact with whomever you are speaking to, focus on the words he/she is saying to you, and reciprocate an appropriate response. By keeping this in mind, you will actively listen more frequently than not.