LISTENING

INTRODUCTION: 

  • Listening effectively is hard work. It involves far more than sitting passively and absorbing other’s words. It occurs far more frequently speaking, reading or writing and is just as demanding and important.

MEANING OF LISTENING:

  • Dumont defines listening as:

“ The ability to understand and respond effectively to oral communication”

Benefits/Advantages of listening:

•To obtain information
•To solve problems
•To share experiences
•To persuade or dissuade
 1.      Listening helps to know the organization
Listening to the  grapevine will enable you to know what the members of the staff think of the company’s policies and activities. It will you understand your organization better.
 2.    Listening helps to make better policies

If you listen to your subordinates carefully, you will know which policies are suitable to your organization. You will not keep stumbling from one top heavy policy to another.

3.Listening mollifies the complaining employees

Very often employees have certain grievances which exist more in their mind than in reality i.e which are primarily psychological. If you listen to them patiently their anger will subside and they will leave mollified

4.Listening is important for the success of the open-door policy

Many managers take pride in the fact that they believe in the open-door policy ie they always keep their doors open for the employees to walk into their room and talk to them

5.Listening helps to spot sensitive areas

It helps to spot sensitive areas and find out solutions before they became explosives and many other problems which could have lead to serious disputes just did not arise.

Principles of Effective Listening

•Avoid direct questions and arguments about facts

•When the other person does touch on a point you do want to know more about simply repeat his statement as a question.
•Listen for what is not said evasions of pertinent points or perhaps too ready agreement with common cliches
•If other person appears genuinely to what your viewpoint be honest in your reply, but in the listening stage try to limit the expression of your views since these may or repress what the other person says.
•Don’t get emotionally involved yourself, try simply to understand first and defer evaluation until later.
•The interviewers should not being the interview without thoroughly studying the relevant data about the candidate from the application blank and the tests and preliminary interviews which he has gone before.

Skills of Active Listening

1.Concentrate on what a person is saying rather than on how he looks. Don’t be distracted by his physical apperance.

2.Repeat the key ideas to yourself. Particularly while listening to a long lecture see if you can repeat to yourself all the important ideas the speaker has put before you. This will allow you to understand better.

3.Try to relate to the speaker remarks to your personal background and experience
4.Do not let your mind wander away from what the speaker is saying. Do not think of the pleasant or unpleasant experiences of your own. Be determined that you are going to shut everything out of your mind
5.Listen with a positive attitude. Many listeners fail to listen because they are mentally unprepared to listen
6.Try to grasp ‘between-the-lines’ messages. Listen to what you can’t hear.
7.Take notes if you feel desirable. But this might distract you from listening. So keep the notes to the minimum. Let them aid to the memory rather than detailed notes
8.Don’t be afraid to ask question or seek clarification wherever you are in doubt.
Barriers of Listening 
•HEARING PROBLEMS: Hearing deficiency interrupts in the way of listening. But such problems is physiological and not intentional. Usually such type of persons are very few in the organization. By knowing their problem they can be medically treated.
•RAPID THOUGHTS: The speaker talks about 125 words per minute whereas the listener can process information at a rate of 500 words per minute. This leaves ample idle time for the mind to wander to other matters than concentrating on the speakers message.
•OVERLOAD OF MESSAGE: it is very difficult for the brain to digest the overloaded message. When the message is lengthy or illogical in sequencing it becomes more painful to retain the concentration.
•EGOTISM: Thinking that my own ideas are more important than those of other persons or ‘myself is always right’ always creates stumbling black in the way of listening. It requires open minded and heart free from negative emotions
•PERCEPTION: Our perceptions are selective and limited. As a result we indulge in selective listening. Talking the desired part and leaving the undesired of the message.
•CULTURAL DIFFERENCE: Present business organization with their operations transcending local or regional boundaries, employ people from different countries and communities with different cultural backgrounds.
How to overcome barriers? 
1.Stop talking as you cannot listen during talking
2.Watch of and witness your body and mind to ensure that you are free from emotions which may interrupt the listening process
3.Free your mind from presumptions and preconceived ideas by being aware of them.
4.Avoid any external distraction if there is any noise in the near by place.
5.Put the talked at ease with smiling face and sweet words so that he can communicate frankly and fearlessly.
6.Demonstrate your interest in the talker’s speech through facial expression or active questioning related to the topic
7.Be patient and allow the talkers sufficient time to clarify his point. Do not interrupt judgment
8.Suspend the judgment for the time being to avoid premature evaluation and judgment
9.Be careful that your listening is not selective and partial but total and deep
10.Be in present do not think of the past or future. Effective listening requires listening through heart when you suspend the judgment for the time being silence the mind wander NO WHERE and be NOW HERE.
Reason for Poor Listening
1.PREJUDICE AGAINST THE SPEAKER: At times conflicts in our mind as to the speaker. Whatever he speaks seems to be colored and we practically don’t listen what he says.
2.REHER SING: Your whole attention is on designing and preparing your next comment. You look interested but your mind is going a mile a minute because you are thinking about what to say next.
3.JUDGING NEGATIVELY: If you prejudge somebody as incompetent you don’t pay much attention to what that person says. A basic rule of listening is that judgments should only be made after you have heard and evaluated the content of the message.
4.IDENTIFYING: When  using this block you take everything people tell you and refer it back to your own experience. They want to tell you about a toothache but those reminds you of your oral surgery for receding gums. You launch into your own story before they can finish theirs.
5.ADVISING: You are the great problem solver. You don’t have to hear more than a few sentences before you begin searching for the right advice. However while you are coming up with suggestions and convincing someone to just try it. You may miss what is most important.
6.SPARRING: This block has you arguing and debating with people who never feel  heard because you are so quick to disagree. In fact your main focus is on finding things to disagree with.
7.BEING RIGHT: Being right means you will go to  great lengths to avoid being wrong. You can’t listen to criticism you cant be corrected and you cant take suggestions to change.
8.DERAILING: This listening block involves suddenly changing the subject. You derail the train of conversation when you get uncomfortable or bored with a topic.
9.PLACATING: You want to be nice pleasant and supportive. You want people to like you. So you agree with everything
10.DREAMING: When we dream we pretend to listen but really tune the other person out while we drift about in our interior fantasies. Instead of disciplining ourselves to truly concentrate on the input we turn the channel to more entertaining subject.

THINKING SPEED: Most of us speak between 60 to 180 words per minute and people have capacity to think at the rate of 500 to 800 words per minute. The difference leaves us with the great deal of mental spare time. While it is possible to use this time to explore the speakers ideas.

Responsibilities of the Listener
•PREPARATION:
                          As a listener in a group one is influenced with the personality of the speaker and his message in the light of one’s own attitudes and opinion. A listener has beyond his control all the elements enumerated here except his own point.
•CONCENTRATION:
                          Good listening means decoding of a message both is of its part verbal and non verbal i.e. gestures, tone of voice and physical movement. All these need full concentration so a listener must be attractive to everything a speaker does or say. Don’t make premature evaluation.
Result of Good Listening
1.Leads to helpful, positive attitudes
2.Permit the speaker and the listener to improve communication
3.Permit mutual understanding between the speaker and the listener
4.Help the listener to collect useful information
5.Assist the speaker to talk out a problem
6.Indicating any feedback to the speaker that listener are interested in.
Result of Good Listening
The good listening in interview and in speeches or in one on one situation pays valuable dividends as it:
1.Leads to helpful, positive attitudes
2.Permit the speaker and the listener to improve communication
3.Permit mutual understanding between the speaker and the listener
4.Help the listener to collect useful information
5.Assist the speaker to talk out a problem
6.Indicating any feedback to the speaker that listener are interested in this invokes the speaker to give the best presentation.
Six P’s of Listening
1.PREPARING : Setting your mind to the task of being an active listener
2.PERCEIVING : Recognizing when blocking occurs. Blocking is a barrier which interferes with objective listening
3.PARTICIPATING : Focusing your thoughts on the task of listening while you receiving information
4.PROCESSING : Thinking about information you hear to try to make sense of it
5.PROBING : Asking questions to help you understand and process information you hear
6.PERSONALIZING : Fitting information you hear into your own needs and goals frame so that it become yours.
Types of Listening
1.Pretending Listening
                 Pretending through facial expressions that communicated message is listened. Here nothing like listening takes place just hearing is there
2.Selective Listening
                 Means not talking the message as it is even adding or deducting according to one’s own whims and wishes. Selecting the desired part and ignoring the undesired part of the message.
3.Attentive Listening

                Involves paying attention on the words that are being spoken rather than understandings the head and heart of the person speaking

4.Emphatic Listening
               Involves listening not only through ears but also through eyes and heart. It is listening intently and intensively to understand the person fully, deeply both emotionally as well as intellectually
5.Listening for mutual creativity
                Listening to inspire mutual creativity is responsible for many break through in the world. To listen in total support of other people to be for their goals and aspirations in your own body mind and spirit may well be greatest gift you can give your fellow human beings
6.Intuitive Listening
                 Intuitive listening like listening for mutual creativity is higher form of listening it means listening through intuitive mind by silencing the other internal dialogues going simultaneously.
How to improve Listening Skills
1.REALIZING THAT LISTENING IS HARD WORK
 You must appreciate the art of listening and make conscious efforts to listen others
2.PREPARE TO LISTEN
 To receive the message clearly, the receiver must have the correct mental attitude in your daily communications establish a permissive environment for each communicator
3.HAVE POSITIVE ATTITUDE
If you have to do it with a positive attitude
4.RESIST DISTRACTIONS
  Tune out internal and external distractions by facing and maintaining contact with the speaker. Good listener adjust quickly to any kind of abnormal situation
5.LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND, NOT REFUSE
 Respect the viewpoint of those you disagree with. Try to understand the points they emphasize and why they have such feelings. Don’t allow your personal biases and attitudes to influence your listening to the message
6.KEEP AN OPEN MIND
 A good listener doesn’t threatened or insulted or need to resist messages that contradict his  beliefs, attitudes, ideas or personal values. Try to identify and rationalize the words or phrases most upsetting to your emotions
7.FIND AREA OF INTEREST
  Good listeners find ways to make the message relevant to themselves and/or their jobs. Make your listening efficient by asking yourself. What is he conveying any workable approaches or solutions?
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