Effective Communication: Listening Skills

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Every business consists of a variety of communication activities such as listening, speaking, questioning, gathering and participating in small work groups. The listening skill is one of the most important aspects of communication process. It helps to understand and read the other person's message. Effective listening skills create positive workplace relationships which influence our opinions and responsiveness to one another.

There is a big difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is a physical ability that the ears receive feelings and transmit them to the brain while listening is a skill. Listening skills allow one to make sense of what another person is saying. In other words, listening skills let you to understand what someone is "talking about". It requires concentration so that your brain processes meaning from words and sentences.

Listening and understanding what others communicate to us is the communication process needed for interpersonal effectiveness. If you listen well, you will understand the meaning of the message. If you are unfocused, you will not know most of what the other person is saying. However, there is a range of listening skills that can be learned to develop the communication effectiveness. Firstly, encouraging listening points to the listener that is willing to do more than listen. Usually it provides feedback that supports speakers to say more. Furthermore, attentive listening is where we are fully interested in hearing and understanding the other person's opinions. We are attentive and passively listen. We show them that we listen and understand correctly. Finally, there is active or reflective listening. In active listening we are fully interested in understanding what the other person is thinking or what the message means. After they finish talking, we restate our understanding of their message and reflect it back to the sender for confirmation.

On the other hand, barriers to listening will always happen in...
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