Why Is Listening Important in a Business Organisation?

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:

Types of Listening

  1. Appreciative Listening: In appreciative listening, we seek certain information that will appreciate, for example that which helps meet our needs and goals. We use appreciative listening, when we are listening to good music, or poetry or maybe even the stirring words of a great leader (Changingminds, 2019).

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  2. Evaluative Listening: In evaluative listening or critical listening, we make judgments about what the other person is saying, we seek to assess the truth of what is being said. We also judge what they say against our values, assessing them as good or bad, worthy or unworthy (ibid).
  3. Comprehension listening: To comprehend the meaning requires first having a lexicon of words at our fingertips and also rules of grammar and syntax by which we can understand what others are saying. The same is true, of course, for the visual components of communication, and an understanding of body (ibid).
  4. Critical listening: Critical listeners understand and evaluate the speaker’s message on several levels. If you are skeptical, ask question to explore the speaker’s point of view and credibility. Be on the lookout for bias that could color the way the information is presented and be careful to separate opinions from facts (ABU, 2018).
  5. Empathetic listening: This category of listeners understand the speaker’s feelings, needs and wants so that you will appreciate his or her point of view, regardless of whether you share that perspective. By listening with empathy, you help the individuals vent the emotions that prevent the calm (ibid).
  6. Dialogic Listening: The word dialogue stems from the Greek words dia meaning through and logos meaning words. Thus dialogic listening mean learning through conversation and an engaged interchange of ideas and information in which we actively seek to learn more about the person and how they think (Changingminds, 2019; Krizan, et al, 2002).
  7. Relationship listening: Sometimes the most important factor in listening is in order to develop or sustain a relationship. This is why lovers talk for hours and attend closely to what each other has to say when the same words from someone else would seem to be rather boring. Relationship listening is also important in areas such as negotiation and sales, where it is helpful if the other person likes you and trusts you (ibid).
  8. Sympathetic Listening: In sympathetic listening, we care about the other person and show this concern in the way we pay close attention and express our sorrow for their ills and happiness at their joys (ibid)
  9. Therapeutic Listening: In therapeutic listening, the listener has a purpose of not only empathizing with the speaker but also to use this deep connection in order to help the speaker understand, change or develop in some way (ibid).
  10. Discriminative Listening: This is the most basic type of listening, whereby the difference between different sounds is identified. If you cannot hear differences, then you cannot make sense of the meaning that is expressed by such differences. We learn to discriminate between sounds within our own language early, and later are unable to discriminate between the phonemes of other languages (ibid).

The purpose of Listening

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:

  1. To gain a full and accurate understanding of the speaker’s point of view and ideas (ibid).
  2. To observe the non-verbal signals accompanying what is being said to enhance understanding (ibid).
  3. To show interest, concern, and concentration (ibid)
  4. To encourage the speaker to communicate fully, openly, and honestly (ibid).
  5. To develop a selflessness approach, putting the speaker first (ibid).

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).

What Makes a Good Listener?

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:

  1. A job candidate shares her understanding of an unclear question during an interview and asks if she has it right (TBC, nd; Guffey, 2003).
  2. An interviewer notices that a candidate doesn’t look her in the eye when asserting a key strength (ibid).
  3. A customer service worker repeats a patron’s problem or complaint back to her to reassure her that she has been heard (ibid).
  4. A counselor nods and says, I hear you to encourage a client to continue to talk about their traumatic experience (ibid).
  5. A meeting facilitator encourages a reticent group member to share her views about a proposal (ibid).

Signs of Poor Listening

The signs of poor listening in an organization include, but are not limited to the following:

  • If the manager learns about fundamental events long after he was supposed to take action.
  • If the manager discovered that often, problems degenerate to crisis situations, he needs self-check for poor listening skill.
  • If an employee realizes that his manager or colleague has to repeat information for him, it is a sign of poor listening (ABU, 2018; Garett & Jennifer, 2011).

How to Improve Listening Skills

The best way to improve listening skills is to understand the stages involved in listening. These include:

  1. Sensing Stage: is the way you hear what is said to you. Sensing abilities are affected by most or all the following: gender, age, cultural background, bias, emotion, and environmental distractions, etc.
  2. Interpreting Stage: is the stage of assigning meaning to what is heard, felt, or seen at the sensing stage.
  3. Evaluating Stage: is when the listeners think about the message, make extensive inferences, weigh and judge the speaker and the message.
  4. Responding Stage: This is the stage whereby feedback is required, otherwise, speakers may assume that all is well. (v) Memory Stage: is the stage where the listener decides what to retain and store in memory (ABU, 2018; Lexical & flatly, 2005).

Causes of Poor Listening

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).

Conclusion

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.

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Why Is Listening Important in a Business Organisation?. (2020, Nov 20). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/why-is-listening-important-in-a-business-organisation-essay

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