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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Effective Listening


Effective Listening:
Listening is an essential part of spoken communication. Speaking and listening go together and oral communication can not be effective without proper listening. Poor listening defeats the very purpose of spoken words. Listening is a deliberate effort and is much more than hearing. It requires getting the full meaning of what is being said.
Listening effectively takes skill, self-motivation, and practice. Effective listening means concentrating on what the speaker says rather than on how it is said. Lack of attention and respectful listening can be costly - leading to mistakes, poor service, misaligned goals, wasted time and lack of teamwork.

Reasons for Effective Listening
a)      To avoid Misunderstandings:  we will be able to avoid misunderstandings by becoming an active listener. We will also be able to do things right the first time when you listen effectively. Problems are solved quicker by being an "active listener".
b)      To Get along Better with Others: Listening actively will show that you sincerely care. It is a very high compliment when we listen to others, because it gives the speaker the sense of self worth and confidence.
c)       To will learn more About the World: Television, radio, and conversations aid in our understanding. The more knowledge we gain, the more we will enjoy the things around us.
d)      To be more successful on the Job: Our grades and interest in job will increase as a result of effective listening. Many jobs require good listening skills such as telephone operators, nurses, doctors, auto mechanics, teachers, lawyers, etc.

Listening is of various types depending upon the speaker.
a)      Discriminative Listening: - when the listener differentiates between different parts of the speaker messages.
b)      Evaluative Listening: - listening is said to be evaluative when the listener evaluates the evidence and reaches a conclusion.
c)       Appreciative Listening: - here the listener shows by words or his body language that he likes some part of a speech and agrees with the speaker.
d)      Empathic Listening: - when the listener puts himself in the place of the position of the speaker it is called Empathic Listening.
e)      Active Listening: - when the listener genuinely interested in understanding what the other person is thinking, feeling, wanting or what the message means, and active in checking out our understanding it is called active listening.

LISTENING -PROCESS
Listening is a seven stage process of:
a)      Hearing
b)      Selecting
c)       Attending
d)      Understanding
e)      Evaluating
f)       Remembering
g)      and responding actively with feedback
This process can be summarized in to four steps. The Four Steps of Listening are:
a)      Hearing is the first step in the process. At this stage, Listener have to pay attention to make sure that he heard the message.
b)      The second step is interpretation. Failure to interpret the speaker's words correctly frequently leads to misunderstanding. People sometimes interpret words differently because of varying experience, knowledge, vocabulary, culture, background, and attitudes.
c)       A good speaker uses tone of voice, facial expressions, and mannerisms to help make the message clear to the listener. During the third step, evaluation, Listener has to decide what to do with the information he has received. The judgments make in the evaluation stage are a crucial part of the listening process.
d)      The final step is to respond. This is a verbal or visual response that lets the speaker know whether Listener has gotten the message and what his reaction is.

IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING
a)      It helps us to understand the people and the world around us.
b)      In our society, listening is essential to the development and survival of the individual.
c)       Relationships depends more on listening skills than on speaking skills.
d)      A good listener is always in a better position to deal with his problems and relationships.
e)      It helps a person to grow in his career.
f)       It keeps a person well informed
g)      It helps an organization to meet its objectives.
h)      Being listened to spells the difference between feeling accepted and feeing isolated.
i)        A good listener rarely involves himself in controversies and misunderstanding.
j)        Listening skills are critical to effective leadership.
k)      Good listeners are often the best speakers because they have taken the time to find out what people are truly interested in.

Guidelines for effective Listening
a)      Avoid distractions and prepare yourself for listening.
b)      Maintain eye contact with the person.
c)       Take keen interest in what the person is speaking.
d)      Keep your mind active. Take notes.
e)      Observe the elements of communication i.e. body language, movement, facial expression, tone and modulation of voice.
f)       Avoid whispering, yawning.
g)      Be aware of your feelings.
h)      Think critically. It prevents your judgment to be biased.
i)        Restate what the speaker said to make sure you have understood the content of the matter spoken.
j)        In case of doubt get it clarified by asking question. However avoid frequent questioning as it disturbs the speaker.

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