Research shows that listening skills are related to promotions. A Sender may strive to deliver a Message clearly. But the Receiver’s ability to listen effectively is equally vital to effective communication. The average worker spends 55% of her workdays listening. Managers listen up to 70% each day. But listening doesn’t lead to understanding in every case. Listening takes practice, skill, and concentration.
The consequences of poor listening are lower employee productivity, missed sales, unhappy customers, and billions of dollars of increased cost and lost profits. Poor listening is a factor in low employee morale and increased turnover because employees do not feel their managers listen to their needs, suggestions, or complaints. Clearly, if you hope to have a successful career in management, it behoves you to learn to be a good listener.
How can you improve your listening skills? The Roman philosopher Cicero said, “Silence is one of the great arts of conversation.” How often have we been in conversation with someone else where we are not really listening but itching to convey our portion? This behaviour is known as “rehearsing.” It suggests the Receiver has no intention of considering the Sender’s Message and intends to respond to an earlier point instead. Clearly, rehearsing is an impediment to the communication process. Effective communication relies on another kind of listening: active listening.
Active listening active listeningGiving full attention to what other people are saying. can be defined as giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking the time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times. Active listening creates a real-time relationship between the Sender and the Receiver by acknowledging the content and receipt of a Message. As we’ve seen in the Starbucks example, repeating and confirming a Message’s content offers a way to confirm that the correct content is flowing between colleagues. The process creates a bond between coworkers while increasing the flow and accuracy of messaging.
Carl Rogers, founder of the “person-centered” approach to psychology, formulated five rules for active listening:
Listen for message content
Listen for feelings
Respond to feelings
Note all cues
Paraphrase and restate
The good news is that listening is a skill that can be learned. The first step is to decide that we want to listen. Casting aside distractions, such as by reducing background or internal noise, is critical. The Receiver takes in the Sender’s Message silently, without speaking. Second, throughout the conversation, show the speaker that you’re listening. You can do this nonverbally by nodding your head and keeping your attention focused on the speaker. You can also do it verbally, by saying things like, “Yes,” “That’s interesting,” or other such verbal cues. As you’re listening, pay attention to the Sender’s body language for additional cues about how they’re feeling. Interestingly, silence plays a major role in active listening. During active listening, we are trying to understand what has been said, and in silence, we can consider the implications.
We can’t consider information and reply to it at the same time. That’s where the power of silence comes into play. Finally, if anything is not clear to you, ask questions. Confirm that you’ve heard the message accurately, by repeating back a crucial piece
like, “Great, I’ll see you at 2 p.m. in my office.” At the end of the conversation, a “thank you” from both parties is an optional but highly effective way of acknowledging each other’s teamwork.
Active listening creates a more dynamic relationship between a Receiver and a Sender. It strengthens personal investment in the information being shared. It also forges healthy working relationships among colleagues by making Speakers and Listeners equally valued members of the communication process.
The channel, or medium, used to communicate a message affects how accurately the message will be received. Verbal, written, and nonverbal communications have different strengths and weaknesses. In business, the decision to communicate verbally or in written form can be a powerful one. In addition, a smart manager is aware of the nonverbal messages conveyed by either type of communication—as noted earlier, only 7% of verbal communication comes from the words themselves.
Effective communication is required at various levels and for various aspects in an production and operations system of an organisation such as: For manager – employee relations: Effective communication of information and decision is an essential component for management-employee relations. The manager cannot get the work done from employees unless they are communicated effectively of what he wants to be done? He should also be sure of some basic facts such as how to communicate and what results can be expected from that communication. Most of management problems arise because of lack of effective communication. Chances of misunderstanding and misrepresentation can be minimized with proper communication system. For motivation and employee morale: Communication is also a basic tool for motivation, which can improve morale of the employees in an organisation. Inappropriate or faulty communication among employees or between manager and his subordinates is the major cause of conflict and low morale at work. Manager should clarify to employees about what is to be done, how well are they doing and what can be done for better performance to improve their motivation. He can prepare a written statement, clearly outlining the relationship between company objectives and personal objectives and integrating the interest of the two. For increase productivity: With effective communication, a manager can maintain a good human relation in the organisation and by encouraging ideas or suggestions from employees or workers and implementing them whenever possible, you can also increase production at low cost. For employees: It is through the communication that employees submit their work reports, comments, grievances and suggestions to their seniors or management. Organisation should have effective and speedy communication policy and procedures to avoid delays, misunderstandings, confusion or distortions of facts and to establish harmony among all the concerned people and departments. Importance of written communication: Communication may be made through oral or written. In oral communication, listeners can make out what speakers is trying to say, but in written communication, text matter in the message is a reflection of your thinking. So, written communication or message should be clear, purposeful and concise with correct words, to avoid any misinterpretation of your message. Written communications provides a permanent record for future use and it also gives an opportunity to employees to put up their comments or suggestions in writing.
So, effective communication is very important for successful working of an organisation.