Listening means hearing sounds through ears with full attention. In order to interpret and respond to the message, we need to pay attention through listening. By listening we get information, briefing, orders, guidance, warnings, and news. When someone speaks he tries to inform, convince, or entertain one or more individuals.
Listening plays a vital role in business. An individual in business spends most of the day listening and talking. Listening is the key element which makes the communication process effective. It has a great influence in our lives to get knowledge and information. Listening is learning because the more you listen the more you learn. Generally, a person who listens with full concentration is appreciated.
In this section we will be discussing the following topics.
1. Responsibilities of listener.
2. Nine reasons for poor listening.
3. Ten commandments of good listening.
Responsibilities of Listener
As speaker has responsibility to communicate effectively as possible, the listener has also responsibilities. The listener should prepare himself before he listens. He must concentrate on the both verbal and nonverbal message of the speaker.
Prepare for Listening
As a listener in a group you are influenced by the speaker, the message, other listeners, physical condition, and your own attitude and opinions. In order to give your full attention to the speaker and the message, you should sit in such a position where you can see speaker’s gestures and clearly hear the tone of his voice. Also sit up upright and look directly at the speaker. If you feel that you are sitting at a place that is disturbing, you should change your location. Also avoid other factors such as draft from a window or door, excessive heat, and undue glare that might distract your attention.
Concentrate on the Message
In order to decode the message correctly, you must concentrate on the verbal and nonverbal message. Following points should be deemed for having good concentration.
1. Once the speaker starts his speech, be attentive and avoid wandering your mind.
2. If the speaker has not organized the material well, try to figure out the purpose and major points of the message.
3. If speaker’s words hurt you, control your emotions until he ends.
4. Avoid personal bias and keep your mind open to understand the message he meant.
5. Try to keep your personal attitudes, opinions and emotions from affecting your listening.
6. Observe the speaker’s gestures, tone of voice, and physical movements which will help you to understand the message clearly and comprehensibly.
Nine Reasons for Poor Listening
1. Competition for attention: It results when you are overly busy.
2. Failure to concentrate: Lack of concentration is the result of existing environmental condition and speaker’s speed which is greater than the listener’s.
3. Emotions and feelings: Angry, shouting, grieved and overly happy persons are poor listeners.
4. Evaluation: When listener starts evaluating situation during listening, he cannot understand the message.
5. Sluggishness: When you are inactive you are unable to understand.
6. Distraction: When your attention takes away from the speaker to some other object you are unable to understand.
7. Language: When the listener does not familiar with the language of speaker, the listener is unable to understand.
8. Exhaustion and drowsiness: When you are mentally or physically tired or feel sleepy you cannot listen.
9. Topic: An uninteresting topic makes you poor listener.
Ten Commandments for Good Listening
1. Stop talking: You learn nothing when you talk.
2. Put the talker at ease: Create a permissive environment in which he feels free to talk.
3. Show him that you want to listen: Look and act interested. Do not busy yourself with newspaper or mail while he talks. Your lack of interest will discourage him.
4. Remove distractions: Do not doodle or shuffle papers. It would be better if you shut the door and switch off the cell phone.
5. Empathize with talker: As a listener you should try to put yourself in his place so that you can see his point of view.
6. Be patient: Do not interrupt him. Allow plenty of time to finish the talk.
7. Hold your temper: If you lose your temper, you may get wrong meaning from the words.
8. Take it easy on argument and criticism: He may calm up or get angry. Do not argue because even if you win, you lose.
9. Ask question: It helps to develop points further and encouraging talker that you are taking listening.
10. Stop talking: This is the first and last principle of good listening. You should not only stop talking at the beginning but also throughout the message delivery process.