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Program

Semester Subject Code Subject Name Unit number Unit Title Faculty

: MBA
:I : MB0039 : Business Communication :4 : The Importance of Listening in the Workplace : Dr. Smita Choudhary

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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After studying this unit, you will be able to:


Distinguish clearly between hearing and listening Categorize the main barriers to effective listening Improve your listening skills by adopting specific strategies Recognize the importance of listening in the workplace Ask the right questions while listening

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Listening An Overview
Listening is hard work and is more than just sitting passively and absorbing a speakers words. According to Lundsteen, Listening is a highly complex process by which spoken language is converted to meaning in the mind. Listening has been identified by Stephen Covey as one of the seven habits of highly effective people, in his book with the same title. This definition implies that listening is a skill which can be cultivated and developed, just like speaking, reading or writing.

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Steps of Listening
Listening involves the following four steps: Hearing In this step, you need to pay attention to ensure that you hear the message clearly. Interpreting In this step, you try to analyze the speakers words based on your experience, attitude, knowledge and background. You also give meaning to the words based on the gestures and expressions of the speaker. Evaluating In this step, you evaluate the information received and make decisions accordingly. Responding In this step, you let the speaker know whether you have understood the message and respond to it.

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Importance of Listening
One primary reason why listening is so important is the amount of time people spend doing just that listening. Listening is the most frequent, perhaps the most important type of on-the-job communication. Top executives spend even more time listening than other employees.

Listening on the job is not only frequent, it is very important as well. In fact, most managers agree that active listening is the most crucial skill for becoming a successful manager. Listening can improve work quality and boost productivity. Poor listening leads to innumerable mistakes because of which letters have to be retyped, meetings rescheduled. All this affects productivity and profits. Apart from the obvious benefits, good listening helps employees to update and revise their collection of facts, skills and attitudes. Good listening also helps them to improve their speaking.

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Types of Listening

1. Discriminative Listening2. Comprehension Listening 3. Evaluative Listening 4. Appreciative Listening 5. Empathetic Listening 6. Therapeutic Listening 7. Dialogic Listening

This is the most basic type of listening, whereby the difference between the sounds is identified.

we require a dictionary of words, along with the rules of grammar and syntax. This kind of listening involves making judgments about what the speaker is saying. paying selective attention to certain kinds of information which might be relevant to us understand the moods, beliefs, goals and feelings behind the speakers words diagnosing the problem at hand and offering a remedy or solution

listening and learning through dialogue

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Barriers to Listening
Listening is not easy and there are a number of obstacles that stand in the way of effective listening, both within and outside the workplace.

1. Physiological Barriers 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Physical Barriers Attitudinal Barriers Wrong Assumptions Cultural Barriers Gender Barriers

such as hearing problems such as distracting sounds such as not being open to others ideas
perception that successful Communication is the senders or speaker's responsibility

such as different accents


different listening styles of men and women

7. Lack of Training

8. Bad Listening Habits

Listening is not inborn such as pretending to listen

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Strategies for Effective Listening


1. Create a Conducive Environment
2. Select Face-to-face Channels 3. Be Open-minded and Avoid Distractions 4. Use Non-verbal Cues to Indicate Active Listening 5. Use Verbal Communication to Indicate Active Listening 6. Listen First Before Responding 7. Use the Speaker-listener Gap constructively 8. Focus on the Verbal and Non-verbal Message 9. Focus on the Content, rather than the Delivery 10. Ask Questions of Yourself and Make Notes

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Listening in a Business Context


Listening has been found to be a vital skill for job success and is one of the essential qualities of a good manager Service industries such as insurance, banking and healthcare in particular, listening skills. require good

Managers need to listen actively to their customers and employees. Customer orientation means identifying and satisfying customer needs. It also involves responding to customer complaints, in order to ensure that the customer is not dissatisfied. This requires listening with empathy and understanding. Listening to employees involves inviting their inputs and suggestions by encouraging upward communication. It is also important to listen to employees problems during a performance review and to suggest ways of overcoming these problems to improve performance.

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Listening to customers
Organisations today are beginning to recognize the importance of being customer oriented. Customer orientation means identifying and then satisfying customer needs, which in turn involves listening to what the customer really wants.

Some approaches for handling customer complaints and listening to customers are: Believe the customer There is a saying that The customer is the king.
Therefore it is important to take the customers at their word, even though they may not be telling the truth, rather than doubt what they are saying.

Listen actively Make your customers feel that you are showing empathy,
or putting yourself in their place.

Apologies Even if the customer and not the company are at fault, it is
always a good idea to apologies to your complaining customer.

Satisfy There is a saying that A satisfied customer is the best


advertisement for your product.

Thank Even if the customer has launched a complaint, it is important to


thank the customer for bringing it to your attention, so that a solution can be found.

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Listening to employees Upward communication through which subordinates give feedback and suggestions to their superiors. This type of communication should be encouraged and not suppressed, since valuable suggestions may sometimes come from employees. Listening during job interviews Listening is also a skill that is needed by both job interviewers and interviewees, in order to make the interview a success. Ideally, listening should take up half the interviewing time, although this rarely happens in reality, since one person or the other fails to listen for some reason or the other.

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Effective Questioning

Effective Questioning facilitates effective listening. Asking the right questions enables us to understand the subject better.
The different forms of questions that help in effective questioning are:

Open questions Closed questions Probing questions Leading questions Hypothetical questions

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Open questions Open questions help in obtaining detailed answers. Eg. What, when, how, why Closed questions Closed questions are those questions that can be answered in one or two words. They yield quick but incomplete information. Probing questions Probing questions are follow-up questions that seek additional information. Leading questions A leading question is a question that implies an answer. You can use a leading question to indicate an answer and make the other person agree with you. Hypothetical questions Hypothetical questions describe a fictitious situation and seek your response to it.

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