|This article needs additional citations for verification.|
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2010)
Workplace listening is a type of active listening that is generally employed in a professional environment. Listening skills are imperative for career success, organizational effectiveness, and worker satisfaction. Workplace listening includes understanding the listening process (i.e. perception, interpretation, evaluation, and action) and its barriers that hamper the flow of that process. Like other skills, there are specific techniques for improving workplace listening effectiveness. Moreover, it is imperative to become aware of the role of nonverbal communication in communicating in the workplace, as understanding messages wholly entails more than simple verbal messages.
- 1 Types of Workplace Listening
- 2 Approaches to listening
- 3 The Listening Process and its Barriers
- 4 Improving Workplace Listening
- 5 Communicating through Nonverbal Messages
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Types of Workplace Listening
The three types of workplace listening are listening to superiors, listening to colleagues & teammates, and listening to customers. Listening to superiors includes hearing instructions, assignments, tasks, and explanations of working procedures carefully, by taking concise notes, paraphrasing what you hear, and not interrupting. Listening to colleagues & teammates includes engaging in critical listening and discriminative listening. Listening to customers includes taking into consideration the customers’ needs & wants. Organizations that listen to customers and take action increasingly acquire loyal customers which, in turn, yields higher sales.
Approaches to listening
Listeners might have various reasons for listening.They might want to gain some information from the speaker; or they might just enjoy what they're listening to..Depending on the purpose, a listener adopts one of the following listening approaches:
Discriminative listening involves an attempt to distinguish one sound from all the others. Stopping work to determine whether the phone is ringing is an example. Individuals begin to discriminate between sounds right from an early age. Eventually, they recognise not only the sounds that make up a language, but also learn to identify vocal cues such as tone of voice, volume, pitch and rate, all of which contribute to conveying the total meaning of a message.
Comprehensive listening involves understanding a speaker's message in totality.It involves precise interpretation of the message and its meaning. This kind of listening is generally practised in the classroom where students remember what they have heard in a lecture and rely upon it for future use.
In critical listening, listeners sift through what they have heard and come to a decision. This involves judging the clarity, accuracy and reliability of the evidence that is presented and being alert to the effects of emotional appeals.
Active listening is also called emphathic listening. This kind of listening goes beyond just paying attention or listening critically. It involves an expression that tells the speaker that the listeners are being attentive and are following him/ her. It entails a supportive behaviour. This behaviour encourages the speaker to express himself or herself fully. Active listening involves responding to the emotional content as well, apart from the bare message.
The Listening Process and its Barriers
The Listening Process
Complete listening takes place in four steps. The four steps are perception, interpretation, evaluation, and action. Interpretation involves interpreting and decoding heard messages. Evaluation involves separating facts from opinions objectively. Action involves retaining, reacting, or providing feedback.
Barriers to Listening
There are two possible types of barriers that hamper the listening process: mental and/or physical. Mental barriers include inattention, prejudgment, frame of reference, closed-mindedness, and pseudolistening. Physical barriers include hearing impairments, noisy surroundings, speaker’s appearance, speaker’s mannerisms, and lag time.
Improving Workplace Listening
Improve listening in the workplace by Control external and internal distractions getting involved actively, filtering facts from opinions, identifying important facts, not interrupting, asking clarifying questions, paraphrasing to increase understanding, capitalizing on lag time, taking notes to ensure retention, and being aware of gender differences.
Communicating through Nonverbal Messages
When listening and understanding messages, it often involves more than simple verbal messages because nonverbal messages play a key role in communicating.
- Anderson. P.A. (2008). Nonverbal Communication Forms and Functions (2nd ed.). Long Grove: Waveland Press Inc.
- Guffey, M.E., Rhodes, K., & Rogin, P. (2006). Business Communication: process and product (3rd ed.). Mason: Thomson South-Western.
- Zenome (The Directory of Communities)/Workplace Listening and Nonverbal Communication (Chapter 3 of Business Communication: process and product)
- Comprehensive summary on Workplace Listening and Nonverbal Communication
- Spring-institute.org/Listening Skills in the Workplace
- Buzzle.com/Effective Listening in the Workplace
- London Metropolitan University/Nonverbal Communication
- University of Northern Iowa/Physical Communication
- Powertochange.com/10 Tips to Effective & Active Listening Skills
- Businesslistening.com/How to Listen (Attentive Listening Skills)
- Trinity College/Listening