Listening is the most frequent, perhaps the most
important type of on the job communication.
Recent studies indicate that
• Studies indicate that adults spend about 29.5
percent of their waking hours listenig.
• Recent studies that focus on the workplace
show that, on an average, personnel at all
levels spend about 32.7 percent of their time
• Speaking takes up 25.8 % of their time and
• Top executives spend even more time
listening than other employees.
Active listening is the most crucial skill for
becoming a successful manager.
Stephen Covey in his book “Seven habits of
highly effective people.” identifies listening as
one of the effectives habits.
Listening can improve work quality, and boost
Poor listening leads to innumerable mistakes
because of which letters have to be retyped,
meetings rescheduled, shipments re-routed. All
this affects productivity and profits.
Good listening helps employees to update and
revise their collection of facts, skills and
Good listening also helps them to improve their
However, good listening skills are quite rare in
the business world today.
Barriers to Effective Listening
When we hear we only perceive sounds., but
when we listen, this hearing is accompanied by a
deliberate and purposeful act of the mind.
To listen means to get meaning from what is
heard. One may hear the words another person
utters without really understanding them.
There are certain factors which impede effective
Poor Listening Habits
Lack of Common Experience
Hearing deficiencies. Once these deficiencies
are detected, they can usually be treated.
According to an estimate we speak at an average
rate of 125-150 word per minute. Our mind can
however, process 500 words per minute
Distracting sounds, poor acoustics,
uncomfortable seating arrangement can all
hamper effective listening. However, it is
impossible to counter those distractions through
When all your attention is focused on what is
being said, the other noises take back seat to
your consciousness. Unless ofcourse, the noises
are too powerful.
When you are forced to listen to a quick
succession of messages, then after a point your
receptivity dulls. You find it gets impossible to
listen attentively .
Also known as psychological work
A casual attitude
Prejudices ---Sometimes our prejudices and
deep seated beliefs made it possible for us to be
receptive to the speaker. For example politicians
of two different parties.
Sometimes we are preoccupied with other
concerns. As students, all of you must have had
days when you registered nothing of what was
said in the class because your thoughts were on
the freshers’ party.
A casual attitude
Hearing is relatively easy, we assume that we
can do without much concentration and efforts.
This attitude is often a major barrier to listening.
Many people are poor listeners, because they are
overly concerned with themselves. sThree
personal concerns dominate their listening
behaviour. These can be summed up :
I must defend my position
I already know what you have to say.
These are effective barriers that destroy the
critical link between speaker and listener.
Poor Listening Habits
Listening like much of human behaviour tends
to follow consistent patterns. Most of us develop
certain bad listening habits that eventually create
Some of the common bad habits are :
• Faking attention
• Listening only for facts
• Avoiding difficult and uninteresting
• Focusing on delivery
Many times we are concerned with how
someone says something, and we pay little
attention to what he or she is actually saying.
Lack of common experiences
It is difficult for a person to understand what is
being said, if he or she has no experience, either
direct or indirect of the concepts being
discussed. For example a village farmer may
not understand the concept of business discussed
in a business school.
APPROACHES TO LISTENING
• Discriminating Listening
• Comprehensive Listening
• Critical listening
• Active Listening
• Be motivated to listen
• Be prepared to listen
• Be objective—You are more receptive when
you approach it an open mind. To be
objective one must avoid jumping to
• Be alert to all cues—Look for the speaker’s
main ideas. The speaker’s voice quality,
inflection, emphasis and body movement
can all offer clues to what the speaker feels
is more important.
Make good use of the Thinking-speaking
Use Verbal and non-verbal cues to encourage
What speakers can do to ensure better listening
• Try to empathize
• Adjust your delivery
• Utilize Feedback –Be sensitive to listener’s
• Be Clear
• Be Interesting
The better you listen, the luckier you will get.
So take time to listen