When interacting, it is very common for people to wait to speak rather than listen attentively to what someone is saying. As a result of this, people tend to get distracted and lose focus of what the message sender is communicating. Active listening is essentially a structured way of listening and responding to others, where understanding is achieved through many different techniques. Active listening is an integral part of communication throughout various different aspects of everyday life. Whether you are talking to a friend, spouse, teacher, employee or even a manager active listening is an essential skill to learn for effective communication. Active listening is a skill that everyone can benefit from when it has been improved. By becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate. To begin, I will introduce this concept of active listening. There are many different opinions as to what active listening actually is, but essentially, there are for main components that active listening is comprised (restatement, summarizing, responding to non-verbal cues, and responding to feelings). Next, I will discuss a study done examining the subject of listening in the sales setting as communication between the sales person and the customer is an essential aspect of successful business interactions. Lastly, I will discuss another study done at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore about how the insurance industry relies heavily on good listening skills for effective marketing.
Regarding active listening, it appears that there are many different approaches to this concept. To begin, active listening is essentially the process of a listener taking an active role in communications through four major techniques. These techniques include restatement, summarizing, responding to non-verbal cues, and responding to feelings (Green, and Knippen, 1994). Restating is simply the act of paraphrasing what someone has just communicated to you. Essentially, this gives the listener a chance to communicate to the sender how he or she has perceived the message. In addition, it gives the sender a chance to hear how his or her message was interpreted. Next, the summary technique involves the summarization of the essential content that was just communicated directly back to the sender. This is an opportunity for the communicator to hear what the receiver took out as the key points. It really minimizes the possibility of miscommunication. If the summary is wrong then the message sender simply will clarify with the receiver what the key points to be understood are. Another very effective technique in the process of active listening is responding to non-verbal cues. By doing this the listener is acknowledging and expressing the presence which the message sender is relaying. For example, if a manager asks a employee to do a specific task and they respond with reluctancy and a frown on their face, it shows that the message receiver has negative thoughts about this specific task. By acknowledging these cues it becomes clear that someone may not want to be involved with a certain task and ultimately makes lighter of the situation as an alternative can be agreed upon. Lastly, a key technique to active listening is the process of responding to feelings. Essentially, this is the process of conveying and recognizing the presence and affects of feelings expressed by the communicator. Ultimately, this gives the communicator a chance to respond to the perception of the person receiving the message. On the other hand, it gives the message receiver a chance to relay some of the other information that the person communicated has not specifically stated. When these techniques are applied to managerial practices, it really gives the manager a chance improve their understanding of information, promote more effective communication, and...
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