Explain the importance of Listening

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Listening is actually by far the most important and the most vital step or process of the communication that takes place as the waves of sound hits with the ears. Listening and hearing is not the same process. Listening refers to receiving the message in the meaningful way and understanding the thoughts in the message. Human beings listen very frequently. In the daily routine we normally hear while in order to receive a message in a meaningful way we usually hear. It is an important step in the process of communication. With the increase in the time of career one spends more time on listening. One person on average spends more than 50 per cent on listening. This skill plays an important role in some of the career options like that of sale person, personal manager, general manager etc. One can find out the needs of the other person once he listens to the other. General Manager needs this quality as he needs to find out what does the customer needs. On the operational level one need to listen more in order to find the need of the customers. It is necessary to first understand rather than to be understood. Misunderstandings occur due to poor listening sometimes.

Effective listen can take place only when the mind of the listener is clear and free from negativity and emotions like that of hatred, anger, jealous etc. Positive message can lead to negative one if the listener have perceptions that are wrong and mind that is not neutral. It is of very vital importance to not to make the listening process of less use and take it lightly. Listening plays a very important role while it comes to communication in a better way. It is necessary for the listener to be attentive and the one who speaks should be clear in his speech too in order to convey the correct message. Trust is build up by the listening. We usually trust the people who listens us attentively. We tend to accept their influence, persuasion and guidance. Listener should be sincere enough to put 100 per cent efforts in listening without failing to distract the speaker. Free communication takes place with the help of this. Learning takes place with the help of listening. If there is no listening there will be no learning. A mind of human being will learn more effectively if he tends to listen more attentively. Listening is directly proportional to the learning. One should also learn how to learn and keep this thing in mind that in learning listening plays an important role. The process of communication will be incomplete without this step of listening. In classrooms also students needs to listen carefully in order to learn properly. Different level of people needs listening of different level of listening. Hearing and listening being two different processes. The hearing does not comprise the process of communication. The process of hearing refers to only receiving the sound waves without any thoughtful meaning. We hear for the whole day like hearing the sound of train, vehicles , traffic etc, chirping of the birds and other sounds of daily routines etc. listening of the news, listening to the radio, students listening in the class etc are the examples of the listening. There are different types of listening like that of selective listening, pretending listening, attentive listening, emphatic listening, listening for mutual creativity and intuitive listening. All these types of listening are used in our day to day life and help to create an effective communication. Listening is very important in this whole process.


Pretending listening is the one in which listener just pretends to listen but does not pay attention. It is almost a kind of hearing as the listener is not attentive and is care free. Then comes the selective listening in which the listener tends to listen the part of message according to his will and wishes. In selective listening one does not receive the message as it is. The addition and deduction in the message is common in this type of listening according to the beliefs and wish of the listener. In this type of listening, listener identifies him and relates the story of his life in life of others or in the opinion of the others. Like while watching the movie we listen to the dialogues and different kind of people keep focus on the different parts of the movie and interpret different things as per their knowledge and beliefs. Hence this type of listening is the selective listening in which a listener listens according to his will. Undesired part of the message in this kind of listening is ignored and desired part of the message is received by the receiver. However this type of listening holds back the learning process. It is because what is intended to convey will not be given 100 per cent. The people who like this type of listening are not capable in complete success of the communication process. The beliefs of the listener get strong in this type of listening but the process of learning is not strengthened at all. A listener finds his story in the story of others and relates to his life to the great extent. Attentive listening is the other type of listening which is opposite of pretending listening. In attentive listening the words are given more importance rather than the emotions of the person speaking. It is formal kind of listening which does not involve any type of emotional feelings. The head and heart of the speaker is not considered and emphasis is laid on only the words. The words are the only way to convey the grammatical meaning to the listener but it is not enough to convey the emotional meaning of the message conveyed by the speaker.


The best example of this type of listening is in the classrooms and while teaching it is effective where one needs to convey the message according to the words only and not according to the emotions. The students simply listen to the teacher and take their notes without taking in to the emotions of the teacher. Its only motive is to teach the students. The improved version of the attentive listening is the emphatic listening. In this type of listening, listener listens not only with the help of ears but also with the help of heart and eyes. In this emotional feelings also matter. It is better than attentive listening but in few cases only. In some of the cases such a type of listening can be harmful as it puts impact on other people’s influence and is open in nature. However in order to be understood we need to understand first. Hence this type of listening is not that bad. It is used to understand the person deeply and completely according to his intellectual. It is seen in the situations where one friend or near and dear one talks to each other. In this situation emphatic listening is very useful as it helps to understand the feelings of the other person. Emphatic listening is paradox as it is necessary to understand the feelings of the other person in order to make them understand your feelings. It is completely vice versa. One understands others on the cost of being understood by the others. This feeling is completely mutual and does not let it ruin the dependency of one on the other person. Hence it keeps them connected and mutually understandable by each other. Then comes the listening with mutual creativity of the two persons communicating with each other. In this one listen to the other in order to bring the best in other and also to create creative point of views in the other. It sparks the creativity in each other which would not have emerged by themselves in the people. The spark ignited in the one due to the other is necessary and is more effective as it initiates the creativity in the mind of the person. In this way one can prove it to be better way of listening as it is helpful in development of the minds of the people interacting through this kind of process. it is the type of the synergetic listening.


Listening for creativity brings out the best in the people involved in it as it increases the understanding process of the people by the union of the heart and minds. It soothes the heart of the people and relieves them from the stress. As it involves the creativity it helps to produce the positive vibes in the minds of the people. It helps to bring out the underlying ideas in the sub conscious minds of the people and helps in the mutual creativity. Intuitive listening is the higher from of listening like that of the listening for mutual creativity. It refers to the listening through the intuitive mind by keeping silent the other dialogues that are internal and are going simultaneously. The internal dialogues keep the person from getting the real message conveyed by the speaker. This type of the listening helps to keep away the internal thoughts of the person and detach the person from everything that hinders the listening process. Detaching the mind from the inner thoughts helps the person to listen with deeper perception. The purpose of detachment is to let open the window of the inner world and lets them think with deeper perception. When we listen to some soulful song or spiritual thing we do intuitive listening. The mind of listener is still and silent in this type of listening. This type of listening is enhanced while in spiritual meditation while listening to the soulful music. There are different types of the barriers in the process of listening that leads to failure of the communication process to the great extent. The barriers in listening are the hearing problem, rapid thoughts in the mind, overload of message, egotism, perceptions, faulty assumptions, cultural differences and lack of training. Hearing problem in the listening process may lead to deficiency in communication process. It is physiological process not intentional. There is medical treatment for this problem. The person with hearing deficiency will lead to the gap in communication. Hearing aids are available for this type of problems. Normally a speaker can talk 125 words per minute and the listener can process at the rate of 500 words per minute. In this way mind gets enough time to wander about and distracts the connection with the speaker. So it is the reason one might get bored while listening to the person who talks slowly. The overloaded message can be misinterpreted and the very less is understood in these kinds of message due to rush of number of information altogether. When the message is lengthy the listener is distracted completely from the conversation with the speaker. Hence the listening becomes ineffective resultantly. Self centred attitude is another barrier to the listening. The egoistic person thinks that only his thoughts and ideas are more important and he rarely give weightage to the ideas of other. Such a type of person is rarely successful in creating the effective listening process. If one listens with open mind and free heart from the negative thoughts and ideas one can completely receive the message the speaker want to convey. However if the listener is already self obsessed with his ideas he cannot listen to the message conveyed by the speaker. He can rarely get what other want to say. There will be no listening process take place if the mind of the listener is closed and he is not ready to listen anything from others by not welcoming their ideas and thoughts. Perceptions of human being are limited and selective according to their demand and needs. Due to this person gets attracted towards the selective listening in which he takes the desired part and leaves the undesired part and as a result only half of the message is conveyed. We listen to what we want to by leaving behind what other want to convey in his communication process. We try to add, delete or colour the message according to our needs, believes, wishes and wills. We do not pay attention to what the other person is actually in need to say us. In some of the cases when we are already possessed with the negative feelings like that of hatred, jealous, anger, illusion etc we tend to receive the positive message with the negative perception. Hence our perceptions, ideas and prejudices tend to decrease the accuracy level of the listening process. What is intended to be conveyed is not reached on the other side. This as a result creates confusion and misunderstandings between the two parties are communicating. There are some other assumptions that make the less effective listening to come in to the process. Some people think that it is the responsibility of the sender to let the effective communication take place. However listener is equally responsible for effective communication. It is because even when the sender is paying full attention on the speaking skills but listener is not ready to listen effectively then the responsibility of the ineffective communication lies on the receiver only. It is necessary to be powerful by remaining powerless and by coming in the influence of others. The man who tries to dominate on others is already dominated by them in the greed of position, power or possession. The cultural differences are the other things that can influence the listening power of the listener. In one culture the accent is different from others. Even if the different parties of different cultures interact with each other in common language there will be different accent but due to which there will be difficulty in understanding the things. Hence that hinders the listening process. In a business world people are employed from different types of the cultures due to which problem of language takes place. It is difficult to understand the different languages and hence effective listening does not take place. Lack of training is the other factor of ineffective listening process. Listening is a natural process like that of eating, sleeping or breathing. However effective listening can take place only if there is effort for the great hard work and patience. The skills of listening can be learnt in ten minutes however it takes about ten years to master the skill of listening. In institutes people are taught about reading, writing and speaking but none is taught how to listen. There should be special classes to teach people how to listen with patience as the great learning can be achieved by merely listening to the people calmly and with patience. Listening is tactful process that requires lots of patience and calm mind. The listening process is the process that is not easy to attain in a short span of time. The great deal of time is required for this thing. Listening requires the silent mind and peaceful atmosphere. One cannot listen in crowd or noisy place.


One must understand the requirement of the effective listening and for doing so one must very carefully take some of the steps that will act as a great type of the tool for making the process of the listening very effective in the nature. One an individual is in a communication and is trying to listen to the speaker; he or she must not talk as this will not allow that particular individual to speak and himself to hear. So for the effective communication it is very necessary to be a good speaker according to the requirement of the situation. One must not allow the emotions, mainly that are negative in the nature to take over the mind and the body of an individual as this will be very adversely affect the communication and the person will be busy thinking regarding these negative things and as a result of all this will not at all be able to listen to the speaker and hence making the listening and then ultimately the whole communication very weak in the nature. One must be free from all such type of the thinking and should try to keep the mind free and also fresh as with the help of such type of the mind set, the person will be able to become a very good listener. For the effective communication, the listening part should also be very effective in the nature and hence for all this one must never ever try to interpret something or presume any type of the situation as keeping the mind free from the presumptions and the self made ideas will automatically lead to the effective listening and then finally the very effective communication. When one is in a certain type of the communication, for being a very good listener here it is very much necessary that one must be completely a part of this particular conversation and should not be attending to the other calls or should not be a part of the other communication at the same time. Also one should avoid to be in a communication at a place where there is the presence of the high volume TV or the radio etc as this will not allow the listener to listen to the information effectively and hence this pulls the communication backwards. The speaker should be very effective in the nature with the smiling face and being very polite as this helps the speaker to be very effective and also allows the listener to be very active in the communication and as a result of all this both the parties can take part in the whole of the communication without any type of the fear and very frankly. The listener must acknowledge the information that he is receiving side by side with the help of the various forms of the facial expressions or asking some kind of the sensible questions from time to time or by just acknowledging by saying ok etc as this reaction acts as a very great tool in picking up the level of the motivation of the speaker and by this he is able to express in a very good manner, keeping his confidence at a very good required level. One must act as a very good listener and when the speaker is speaking, he or she must not speak in between as it will affect the flow of the speaker, so in the other words it can be said that the listener must be very patient in the nature as must allow the speaker to opine and convey all his points regarding the information in the way he or she wants to. One must completely allow the speaker to speak and one must not evaluate the things before he or she finishes as from the starting to the end of the communication, the things keep on changing, so give the needful time to the speaker to opine and the listener must avoid pre judging of the things. The listening of the listener must be very deep and complete in the nature as one must not be selective in the nature. There are listeners at times who come in to the communication with a set mind according to there respective needs and the requirements and hence are not willing to listen anything that is a bit different form what they want to listen, but such type of the listeners make the communication very weak in the nature and as a result of this the information cannot be transferred in the right and the effective manner. For the communication to be effective in the nature, one must live in the present and must not be affected by the past or the time to come as if an individual will think of the past or the future, he or she will not be able to concentrate in the present communication and hence making the communication very weak in the nature. One needs to keep the mind silent and not allow wandering here and there for the effective listening. The communication can be effective in the nature if the same is done straight from the heart by suspending the feel to judge or degrade the things even before listening to the things properly and completely. So give the speaker complete chance to say the things in the way he or she wants and let him complete and one must not think on the certain fixed lines and should try to move or think along the thinking of the speaker, taking the communication towards the very effective platform. So the presence of the supporting environment that is very synergetic in the nature is very critical for the effective communication and in the present scenario of the excessive competition in the present corporate world, it plays a very critical role in keeping the organisation or the firm together with very clear goals to be achieved according to the vision.

This article has been written by KJ Singh a MBA Graduate from a prestigious Business School In India
Article Published:December 31, 2017
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