Importance of Listening is very important part of oral communication. Communication is an exchange between two people groups and the roles of both are very significant. If one of the participants fails to fulfill his/her role in this two-way process, the whole purpose of communication is defeated.
Imagine that you have gone to your boss and want to discuss the changes you propose to bring about in the project which you are handling. Your boss is busy looking through some files and only half his/her mind is on what you are saying. He She agrees to your suggestions without really understanding the implications of what you have suggested. Later, the same person may raise many objections and find fault with you when the fault in the first place was of his her partial listening.
Communication involves the sending and receiving of a message. Unless the intended recipient [listener] receives the message we cannot call it effective communication. It is not
enougn to assure mat me message is transmitted Decause m the process of exchange, receiving is also equally important. Often we see that in spite of a person speaking clearly and precisely, if there are ten people listening, each listener may understand the words of the speaker in a different way. Therefore, it is important that the person who is giving out the message checks up whether the message has been received in the manner in which it is meant to be received and understood.
Two important ways of receiving information in a business context are listening and reading and both these activities take up most of the time in business situations. Of these, listening is a primary activity because, of the two, listening is more frequent in communication contexts than reading: a person’s success in the field of business depends much on the manner in which he/she listens, accepts and comprehends information. Many people listen well but with a preconceived negative notion already in their minds. Many times the only aim of the listener is to raise objections or to rule out all the suggestions that are being made. One has to be careful to make the mind neutral before one is participating in the activity of listening because only through proper and impartial listening can one equip oneself to meet all the needs arising in any business context.
Five Components of Complete Listening, And Importance of Listening
Listening is composed of five distinct activities: hearing, understanding, interpretation, evaluation and response. All these stages have to function in consonance for the entire process of listening to be successful.
The first act in the process of listening is to hear accurately what is being said. There may be physiological or technological problems in the process of hearing or it may be that the speaker’s style, pitch, rhythm is not conducive to hearing what is being said. But to be a good listener we have to overcome all these problems and continue to make an attempt to hear and grasp the words and expressions that go into the making of the message being transmitted.
Coming to the second stage, language and speed of speaking may make the understanding of a message difficult. A
listener has to be sure that these two are not impeding his/her listening. Often attitudes, prejudices and culture make listening and understanding difficult. In today’s global village it is essential to be able to understand messages across regional and national boundaries.
Without interpretation, understanding alone is not enough for listening. A message is supposed to be coded by the speaker and the listener is expected to decode it. That is why it has been said that all communication is actually translation where the listener reconstructs the message to suit the mental capabilities of his/her own mind before lie she can make use of the information being given. Often, misunderstandings and conflicts arise out of the inability to interpret a message correctly. Suppose someone praises you. you may hear and interpret it as sarcasm and get angry even when the compliment is sincere. Or. a person may be insulting you by excessive flattery and you interpret it on its face value and get deceived.
The next step in listening is evaluation. Once the message has been heard, understood and interpreted, it is necessary to decide what to do with it. This is called evaluation. When someone is trying to persuade you to do something, this is what you bring to play: should you believe what is being said, or should you disregard all that you hear, or should you take only some percentage of it seriously and the rest lightly? All these can only be decided during the evaluation stage of listening.
The last component of listening is response. From this the speaker can measure the extent to which you have received the message. When someone is giving a lecture you may nod at the right places, smile when a humorous comment is made and take some notes when necessary. Though in all these cases your response as the listener is not verbally expressed, the speaker can see that you are with him her. On the other hand, if you look distracted, fail to make eye contact or appear restless, your response shows that you are not really listening. Of course, in addition to all this, verbal responses arising from listening are also common. You may use expressions such as “I agree”, ”that is right”, ‘‘please continue”, ‘*yes”, and so on to indicate that you are listening and grasping what is being said.
Unlike reading, which people do with great concentration in the field of business, listening is often done with a casual attitude. People recognise the importance of reading but fail to realise that most of the time in business communication is spent in listening. When the written word comes to you. you may put aside all your other work and devote your whole mind and energies to finding out what is there in the written document by reading it with care. But when someone is talking to you on phone or in person you may be thinking of something else, trying to finish some pending work or planning for a coming event. In all these cases, it is obvious that listening is not given importance and therefore it is defective.
It has been statistically proved that a major portion of the oral contexts involve listening and when a person fails to listen properly, he/she is left out of the loop of communication. When your superior is giving you instructions and you are not paying the required attention to what is being said, you will miss its import. Or. you may follow the first part and lose.