Listening is an important communication skill to managers; they spend most of their time listening to issues that pertain to their business. In fact, it is the most frequently used communication skill in most organizations. Failure to listen effectively by managers may expose their business to loss. A listener requires few overt skills to engage in listening. Thus, in reality, it requires careful concentration to listen and comprehend effectively what was disseminated. Being a good listener is a highly valued soft skill sought by employers because people with the ability were more likely to understand tasks and projects, build strong relationships with co-workers, and also be able to solve problems (TBC, nd; Thill & Bovee 2011).
Listen is not the same as hearing. Listening is so important that many top employers provide listening skills training for their employees. Good listening skills lead to better customer satisfaction, greater productivity, fewer mistakes, and increased sharing of information that in turn can lead to more creative and innovative work.
Many successful leaders and entrepreneurs credit their success to effective listening skills (SYN, 2019). This essay overviews listening skills by defining listening, discussing listening, explaining how to improve listening and the causes of poor listening.
Listening Process Listening follows the same sequence as the general communication process model includes: Receiving, Decoding, Remembering, Evaluating; and Responding:
Listening serves a number of purposes and the purpose of possible listening will depend on the situation and the nature of the communication (SYN, 2019). Some of the reasons for listening are:
There are two components to actively listen with success in the workplace: attention and reflection. Attentive listening involves holding eye contact, nodding, having good posture, and mirroring the speaker’s body language to show genuine interest in what they are saying. In addition to these non-verbal cues, you must also allow the speaker to finish their thought in its entirety (TBC, nd). Reflection is the repeating and paraphrasing of what the speaker has said to show that you truly understand what they are telling you (ibid).
Good listeners always strive to fully understand what others want to communicate, particularly when the statement lacks clarity. Listening demands the attempt to decode and interpret verbal messages and non-verbal cues (e.g., voice tone, physical expressions, and facial expressions) (ibid).
Great listeners also show their curiosity and ask a lot of questions, through their body language and other cues, effective listeners subtly communicate to the speaker that they are listening. Additionally, they encourage and welcome the thoughts, opinions, and feelings of others (ibid).
One way to demonstrate your listening skills is to allow the interviewer to complete each question and statement before responding. Do not interrupt and be sure that your responses genuinely answer the questions (ibid).
Some examples of effective listening are as follows:
The signs of poor listening in an organization include, but are not limited to the following:
The best way to improve listening skills is to understand the stages involved in listening. These include:
Physical barriers such as noise, interference, visual distraction/impairment, etc. ‐ Personal barriers such as deformity, illness, fatigue, psychological disorders, etc. ‐ Semantic barriers, largely because of different frames of references, we may give different meanings to different statements. ‐ Bad listening habits such as criticisms of the speaker’s topic, interruption to challenge, trying to discover facts only, pretense, creating a distraction while the speaker is talking etc. Listening is negatively affected by low concentration, trying too hard, jumping ahead, and or focusing on style instead of substance. Low concentration can be the result of various psychological or physical situations such as visual or auditory distractions, physical discomfort, inadequate volume, lack of interest in the subject material stress, or personal bias (Saylor, 2019). When listeners give equal wait to everything they hear it makes it difficult to organize and retain the information they need. When the audience is trying too hard to listening, they often cannot take in the most important information they need (ibid).
Jumping ahead can be detrimental to the listening experience; when listening to a speaker’s message, the audience overlooks aspects of the conversation or makes judgments before all the information is presented (ibid). Confirmation bias is the tendency to pick out aspects of a conversation that supports one’s own preexisting beliefs and values (ibid). A flashy speech can actually be more detrimental to the overall success and comprehension of the message (ibid). Recognizing obstacles ahead of time can go a long way toward overcoming them (ibid).
Listening as effective communication skills for managers is significant as the managers spend most of their time listening to problem in the organization with limited resource for combating such solutions, as organizations have failed for lack of listening mangers. The above essay looked at the definition of listening, type of listening, how to improve listening; and the causes of poor listening. In all the significance of listening cannot and must not be played down in the modern day business organization.