Free Essay On Active Listening

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Listening Skills

Introduction

Communication has various parts which could be effective with a view of improving the productivity and effectiveness of interaction. Listening is one part of communication that must also gain huge priority by an individual. Whatever is useful and beneficial must be interpreted in proper and way and reacting upon it accordingly is an art which is required to learn in proper way. The development of listening skills could be result oriented at various large scales in order to avail various advantages. It is to acknowledge that the listening skills help in two ways first is that the relationship within the organization could be build very easily and second factor is that it might help with respect to understand the mindset of person who is conveying the message. It is clear that the through effective hearing the thought process, the tone, gestures should be recorded and the idea of their actual message could be interpreted easily (Housel, 2001). Once an individual is able to understand the real reasons behind the message then the essence of effective listening comes into existence. Further for the purpose of building the personal as well professional relationship the huge consideration must be given to the development of listening skills.

Listening and its role in clarifying communication:

As mentioned above that the effective listening helps in interpreting the message that has been conveyed by other person. Effective listening is not only a task restricted to focus on words but it also involves reading the gestures, facial expression and tone of voice. Most importantly it is also clear that the people should understand as well that in what kind of circumstances the message has been delivered. All these aspects are part of effective listening and if one is clear with all these aspects then the communication could be established in proper manner. Therefore the interpretation of message is something which makes the communication very much effective.

Further it is also clear that the meaning of words never remains the same for different people. The difference in their meaning and message could be noticed at very large scale. It could be understandable with the help of example. For instance if a manager has asked help from experience employee then it definitely means guidance and if the help has been demanded form sub ordinates then it represents the assistance (Downs, 2008). It is clear that manager wants help only but the age difference, position difference and most importantly the level of experience creates lots of difference. Thus it becomes clear that words could never be presented in same manner for all people.

Benefits of listening in organizational setting:

There are various benefits of effective listening skills within the organization. The major factor is that whatever strategies and policies have been stated by the managers verbally those could be followed by the sub ordinates in proper manner. Ahead sometime the situation occurs that managers pass the instructions only through some normal or light discussion topics at that time if the employees are perfect listeners then the essence of message could be catches by them and positive results could be availed in proper manner. Ahead it is also clear that in scenario of confusion the listening could be effective. The organization that follows the informal communication structure they normally have the people who are good listeners and grasp the message in simple manner. ahead the organizational settings normally arranges the seminars and conferences which could have various benefits and purposes to come into existence., It is to acknowledge that purpose of seminars and conferences into increase the motivation of employee or to pass some set of instructions or providing the information about future opportunities within the organization (Kratz, 2005). So if the audience is effective listeners then the motivation could be boost easily and the purposes of seminars and conferences could be easily passed on. Further the effective listeners always remain attentive and disciplined as they understood situation as well. Thus in this way the organization can definitely increase their efficiency through effective listening.

Barriers to effective listening:

It is to acknowledge that listening is not very easy task that every person can develop this skill overnight. There is huge requirement of focusing on the fact that the listening should be developed in painstaking way and continuous practice is also required at very large scale. The major barriers are related to the low level of concentration. If any person doesn’t have good concentration then troubles could be experienced with respect to understanding or interpreting the message of another person (Burley-Allen, 1995). Further other barriers could be related to giving less importance to any conversation or discussion. So many people have this tendency that they never give adequate amount of consideration to the talks of other people and didn’t listen it in proper way. Thus this kind of lenient and unprofessional approach could create barriers in effective listening. Further as mentioned above that effective listening has its relevancy with the concentration so high level of stress is something that can minimize the concentration and problems in active listening could be noticed. The aspects can definitely affect the listening abilities of people in negative manner (Burley-Allen, 1995). The worst of the entire situation is that if people think themselves always right and the feeling of ego take over their emotions. At this situation people don’t listen to others. Therefore giving respect and minimizing the ego both should work parallel to each another with respect to increase listening skills.

Non verbal messages as listening skills:

The whole discussion already states that the understanding of gestures and facial expressions is also a part of effective listening. Hearing and understanding both work together. It is clear that when people show their facial expressions then also they have certain emotions behind their expressions which are required to be understood in proper way. It helps in two ways; first that the situation or emotion of people could be understood and the changes in behavioral aspects could bring accordingly (Vowels and McMahon, 2002). For instance if manager is getting angry with their staff the people who read their anger can try to bring some change and try to impress them. Further if someone is putting their trust on other individual then reading the trust or faith could deliver the confidence into another person. In this the message which is coming from other side, no matter verbal or non verbal communication, must be understood effectively (Vowels and McMahon, 2002). It increases the efficiency and the major aim of listening, building the personal as well as professional relationship could become possible.

Conclusion

Thus on the basis of four discussed areas the importance or the role or challenges associated to listening skills could be portrayed in proper manner. It is clear that listening is equally important as passing the instructions has gained within the organizations. Further the role of non verbal communication as part of listening skill is the interesting factor that can help in gaining the knowledge form this study (Everest, 2007). Ahead after identifying the barriers related to improving the communication skills the proper strategies could be developed to deal with problems and issues.

References

Everest, F., 2007. Critical Listening Skills for Audio Professionals. Thomson Course Technology.

Downs, L., 2008. Listening Skills Training. American Society for Training and Developmen.

Kratz., O., 2005. Effective Listening Skills. Tata McGraw-Hill Education.

Housel, D., 2001. Developing Listening Skills. Teacher Created Resources.

Burley-Allen, M., 1995. John Wiley & Sons.

Vowels, T. and McMahon, K., 2002. Listening Skills for Young Children. Teacher Created Resources.

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Susan Cain said in her book ‘The Power of Introverts’, “We have two ears and one mouth and we should use them proportionally.” Listening is more important of a skill than speaking in an effective communication. Active listening provides people with opportunity to understand the speaker to be able to respond and form opinions about what’s being conveyed. I was part of the ESL program for the first two years of High School. After I got out of the ESL program, I started tutoring and encouraging other students in the program. Counseling them required me to become skilled at listening to be able to advise them better. Becoming an active listener requires knowing the definition of active listening, importance of active listening, benefits of active listening and barriers to active listening.

Active listening is a communication skill that facilitates understanding, comprehension, and compassion between people. As a famous English writer and poet G.K. Chesterson said, ” There is a lot of difference between listening and hearing.” The process of hearing is merely sound waves transmitted to the ear into the brain, while listening is an active process that requires paying attention to the words being spoken with the intention of understanding them. Four Subsets of skills are involved in active listening: value of silence, listening to what has been said, reframing what has been said, and usage of accurate body language. Silence shows the listener is interested, and allows the speaker to hear him/herself talk. Reframing what’s being conveyed is processing what’s being said to be able to form opinions, questions and concerns about it. Usage of affirmative body language by the listener can help the speaker recognize the attention being paid and attitude of the listener toward what’s being said. Listening is an active process that requires good attention span and has many benefits.

Most importantly, it is the benefits and importance of active listening that make listening the most essential part of effective communication. Being skilled at active listening offers great benefit of active learning. Students who have active listening skills are able to effectively process information and use their knowledge to better understand concepts and develop new ideas. Active listening can help develop clear two-way communication and improve attention span. Listening is an essential skill in almost all careers that require human-to-human communications. In the service industries, active listening allows service providers to better understand what customer expectations are and meet those expectations. In the field of medicine, active listening allows doctors and nurses to better understand their patients to be able to provide better care. In families, active listening builds intimacy and trust between husband and wife and parent and child. Seth S. Horowitz said in New York Times article in November 2012, “Hearing is a quantitatively faster sense. While it might take you a full second to notice something out of the corner of your eye, turn your head toward it, recognize it and respond to it, the same reaction to a new or sudden sound happens at least 10 times as fast.” Communicating through listening is the fastest way to communicate effectively than any other sense.

Although there are great benefits of active listening, certain barriers become problematic to effective listening. In our fast-paced world, active listening is a rarity, and it’s not as simple as it sounds. Barriers such as lack of knowledge, Pre-judgments, failure to avoid distractions, and fear keep people from mastering the art of active listening. Due to lack of knowledge and pre-judgment, listeners tend to reject ideas without understanding them if they sense the speaker’s ideas contradicting their own. Listeners are able to process more thoughts than speakers are able to speak in a certain time frame, which allows “access capacity” of the listener to think about irrelevant topics. Some people find it very hard to avoid these distractions. People might be afraid of what they are about to hear; People may be afraid to be forced to acknowledge problematic situations or admit to being wrong about certain topic. Although these barriers are problematic, it is easy to avoid these barriers by acquiring higher attention span and being open minded. A celebrated entrepreneur Richard Branson said in his book ‘Five Steps to Start and Make Business Work’, “No one has a monopoly on good ideas or good advice. Get out there, listen to people, draw people out, and learn from them.”

Active listeners let people know they care about what is being said and help the speaker articulate the true meaning of their thoughts and the true source of their feelings. Active listening not only requires understanding and remembering what is being said but evaluating and interpreting what is being heard. Seth S. Horowitz of New York Times said in one of the New York Times articles, ” The richness of life doesn’t lie in the loudness and the beat, but in the timbres and the variations that you can discern if you simply pay attention.”

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