ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Business and Employment»
  • Employment & Jobs

Workplace Communication Part 2 of 7: Effective Listening

Updated on March 15, 2012
Think calm to communicate.
Think calm to communicate. | Source

“The reason that we have two ears and one mouthis that we may listen the more and talk the less." Zeno, Greek Philosopher

Our mind works five to seven times faster than our mouths. Often, we are so far ahead of the speaker, that we end up on a mental excursion so we don’t even hear, much less listen. A hurried workplace aggravates this situation. We may feel that we don’t have time to listen to others. The cost of poor listening is staggering – rework, missed deadlines, poor employee relations, lost sales, and compromised customer relations.

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT LISTENING

  • Listening ability is related to the intelligence of the listener. Research indicates the relationship is very slight.
  • Daily use of listening eliminates the need for special training. Listening is a learned skill.
  • Improving reading ability also improves listening ability. Research indicates there is no relationship between reading ability per se and listening ability.
  • Listening is easy. This is probably the biggest misconception about listening. Most people believe they are listening, when, in fact they are not, or at least are doing so minimally or ineffectively. It requires the focus of attention, a desire to really understand another person, and putting aside one's own agenda.

OVERCOMING BARRIERS

Effective listening doesn't just happen. It takes work and diligence to improve. We give lip service to the importance of listening to others but in practice we do not live in a society where people actually listen very well. There are many reasons for this, including inadequate effort to teach people about listening and how to do it, and a tendency for many of us to be more interested in talking than in listening. So, naturally, there are many barriers and bad habits to address.

Being and remaining preoccupied then not listening.

  • Look at the person speaking, eye contact is best. If on the phone, do not look at items that will draw your attention.
  • Keep your hands free, unless you are writing down what is being said.
  • Practice listening to radio, news, reading articles that are uninteresting to you to counteract lazy listening habits.
  • Listening is not the time to multitask, practice focus.

Being so interested and focused on your own desire to speak or rebut that you listen mainly to find an opening to get the floor.

  • Write notes for later; hear and listen for now.
  • Let it go. Perhaps this isn’t the time or place for your opinions to be heard.

Creating personal beliefs about what is being said and getting caught in your own thoughts.

  • Be objective. If you are judging the content, you will miss the message.
  • Avoid dismissing the subject as uninteresting; this will cause you to shut down.
  • Be respectful by avoiding prejudice.

Evaluating and being critical about the speaker or the message.

  • Remain impartial about the person. Reflecting on appearance, demeanor, and whether you like or dislike the person will deflect the content of the message.

Not asking for clarification when you know that you do not understand.

  • There is a time and place for questions. If the speaker has a designated time, respect it. If not, raise your hand and ask for a better explanation of the content.

Faking “Paying Attention”

  • Counteract your “drifting off” and become an active participant. Ask questions or steer the conversation into something where you can listen.

LISTENING WELL

“Seek first to understand, before being understood” Steven Covey

The Benefits of Effective Listening

  1. Listening increases the chance to be heard. When you listen and try to understand someone, this develops a sense of rapport which tends to steer them into wanting to hear what you have to say.

  2. Listening builds better relationships. People will believe that you care and in turn will care more about you.

  3. Listening reduces conflict. Misunderstandings can be avoided. Errors can be prevented. Quarrels can be evaded.
  4. Listening gains you knowledge.
  • Clearer understanding about information being presented.
  • Learn something new. Knowledge is power.
  • Get more information to fully process any topic.

Listening Skills to Hone

  1. Practice “Pre-Communication” techniques.
  2. Practice “Overcoming Barriers” from previous section.
  3. Be an Active Observer. Listen for feelings, attitudes and values. Analyze the speaker’s body language and facial expression.
  4. Be an Active Participant. Paraphrase or “read back” what you have heard. Ask questions of interest. Nod occasionally or offer words of encouragement.
  5. Only interrupt when necessary, be gracious when you do for the comfort of the speaker.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)