Whether you're an employee, owner/operator or partner, it's everyone's responsibility to promote communication," says Allan Prosch, University of Nebraska Pork Central coordinator. Active listening is a good place to start. Prosch outlines these 10 tips for better listening:

    1. Listen actively. Focus on the individual and repeat important points.
    2. Concentrate on what is being said.
    3. Listen objectively, don't be too quick to draw conclusions.
    4. Listen nonverbally. Don't interrupt.
    5. Listen with empathy and understanding.
    6. Forget personal characteristics, especially if you've had past disagreements with the individual.
    7. Listen for the main idea being presented and the facts.
    8. Restate the main idea or facts; this promotes a clear understanding.
    9. Ask questions.
    10. Make notes, if appropriate, for future reference, and always follow up.