Communication encompasses four basic types: reading, writing, speaking, and listening (Covey, 2004). The ability to master them well is crucial to be effective (2004). Whereas the first three are taught at school as separate courses, little to none is known for trainings regarding listening. Communication is a two-way process and listening is an important part of communication. Without a listener - the receiver- there is no communication. There is only the speaker - the message conveyor. The subjects to explore in this paper are the importance of effective listening , the various types of listeners, effective versus ineffective listening, and effective listening skills for business professionals.
Importance of Effective Listening
As a major component of communication, listening skills are crucial in achieving success in the business environment. Listening alone however, is not sufficient. It also requires remembering, understanding and responding to the message conveyed – all important elements of effective listening. Effective listening is important in building trust within and outside of organizations. It reduces errors and saves valuable resources. It also promotes customer and employee satisfaction, which could lead to boost in productivity. Moreover, it improves business relationships.
Types of Listeners
Adler and Elmhorst (2004) identified four listening styles: people-oriented listeners, action-oriented, content-oriented, and time-oriented listeners (2004). People-oriented listeners are those most “concerned with creating and maintaining positive relationships” (2004, p 116). They are receptive to the speaker’s feelings and moods (2004). Action-oriented listeners are those “most concerned with the task at hand” (2004, p 118). They aim to recognize details communicated, are organized and concise, and want to “get to the heart of the matter quickly” (2004, p...