Business Communication

Effective listening

‡ Listening involves much more than just hearing ‡ You can hear and not listen (just as you can listen and not understand) ‡ Hearing is simply perceiving sound; sound waves strike the eardrum, sending impulses to the brain

‡ Hearing is a passive process; listening is an active process ‡ When you perceive a sound, you¶re merely aware of it; you don¶t necessarily comprehend it ‡ When you listen, you interpret and assign meaning to the sounds e.g.. Car engine

Listening-The Communication skill
‡ It is used the most ‡ White-collar workers typically devote at least 40% of their workday to listening ‡ Yet, immediately after listening to a ten- minute oral presentation, the average person retains only 50% of the information; 48 hrs later, only 25% of what was heard can be recalled ‡ Our brains can process data four times faster than the speed at which we normally speak ‡ Thus, listening is probably the least developed of the four verbal communication skills

Keys to better listening-1
Give the speaker your undivided attention ‡ Do not tune out ‡ Avoid physical distractions like phone calls, doodling etc« ‡ Avoid mental distractions too ‡ Maintain eye-contact ‡ Some information that may be boring or difficult to follow may be quite useful and deserve your full attention

Keys to better listening-2
Stay open-minded ‡ Keep your emotions in check ‡ Listen objectively and empathetically ‡ Be willing to accept new information and new points of view ‡ Concentrate on the contents of the message rather than on the source

Keys to better listening-3
Avoid interrupting ‡ Interruptions have negative consequences ‡ They are rude ‡ They actually drag out the exchange since the speaker is forced to backtrack ‡ It sends a nonverbal message ³ I have the right to interrupt you because what I have to say is more important than what you have to say´

Keys to better listening-4
Involve yourself in the communication ‡ Get involved mentally ‡ Summarize to yourself what the speaker says (create a mental paraphrase) ‡ Jot down points (main ideas only) ‡ Be selfish in your listening ‡ Encourage the speaker; maintain eye-contact, nod in agreement, lean forward, utter encouraging phrases like ³I see´« ‡ Give feedback like ³ So you believe«,is that true?´ or ³Do you mean that«?´
Contemporary Business Communication, Scot Ober, Biztantra


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