Employers rarely, if ever, mention listening as a job requirement and mistakenly assume that if employees can hear, they can also listen. They forget that primary difference between hearing and listening is that hearing is a physical ability, while listening is a cognitive action. Listening is one of the most critical skills every employee should have; yet it is one of the most overlooked.
B. Importance of listening:
It is a fact that employees spend between 70 to 90 percent of their time listening to others give instructions, discuss problems, or outline goals. Employees and managers spend more time and energy listening than any other communication activity. Therefore developing effective listening skills is necessary if employees hope to communicate successfully in the workplace. Especially that is also known that most people listen at a quarter of their potential, which means that they miss more than three-fourths of a message. This inadequate listening can result in substantial losses for businesses.
In addition to profiting a company, good listening skills can benefit you in three ways:
1- You gain new information
To become more efficient at making decisions, completing tasks, and solving problems Good listening skills allow you to gain information you need on a daily basis. then you have more information about your responsibilities.
2- You are valued
Listening to your superiors’ ideas and requests helps make you a valuable asset to your organization. Effective listening improves your interpersonal skills and your efficiency, which will allow you to gain the appreciation of upper management.
3- Your productivity increases
Listening helps you learn new and innovative ways to perform your responsibilities. Listening to other employees describes their successes and applying the same principles to your own tasks helps you increase your productivity, which, in turn, increases your value to the organization.
D. Misconceptions about listening:
Many businesses do not encourage employees to improve their listening skills because they hold fast to some long-held myths about listening. You should be aware of these three misconceptions:
1-Listening is a passive activity
You need to become an active listener by questioning a speaker’s supporting facts, demonstrating that you are listening, and blocking out distractions. To avoid the misconception that listening is a passive activity and does not require effort that causes many communication problems. Actively listening to a speaker allows you to evaluate the message. Many individuals believe that listening skills are learned over time and without much effort. However, listening is a process in which you determine what information is important. You have to learn how to focus on the information presented in order to gather important facts.
2-Listening requires agreement
Some speakers believe that listeners have to agree with everything they say for successful communication to take place. However, your responsibility is to gather and evaluate the information the speaker offers–not agree with everything that is being said. In fact, if you automatically accept a speaker’s message, you may overlook inconsistencies or errors in his or her argument. Do not feel pressured into agreeing with what a speaker says. Successful communication can still occur, even if you question the speaker’s message.
3- Speakers are responsible for successful communication.
Another misconception about listening is that a speaker is completely responsible for the success of the communication. However, both the speaker and the listener are responsible for establishing effective communication. While a speaker’s responsibility is to speak clearly and accurately, you must make a conscious effort to interpret a speaker’s message.