Communication can be defined as sharing of any sort of information, feelings and thoughts through various methods. With the outbreak of technology, ways of communication have changed a lot. Most of the people these days like to use modern methods of communication to make their lives easier and for saving time. Despite of this, the significance of interpersonal communication cannot be neglected. Interpersonal communication can be between two or more people. Effective communication skills are very critical at any workplace. Within any organization, workers need to communicate with their colleagues, clients and their supervisors. So it becomes very important for the employees to have good communication skills. Being a good communist, one can maintain social and workplace relations very well.
Effective listening lays the foundation of a fruitful conversation. Any communication is considered as successful only when all the members participating in it listen to every word actively (Abercrombieb, 2007). Listening process can be detrimental when people have totally opposite perceptions in their mind. Listen with the intention of understanding instead of replying (Hagen, 2008). Listening is the important factor that can help in making good relations among employees and managers. It is most often at workplace that people do not want to listen to each other and they find it easy to wrap up the conversation by advising each other. In order to get the best outcomes out of a conversation, silence should be maintained. Everyone should wait for their turn to present their ideas. It is not just an accident that LISTEN and SILENT consist of same alphabetical letters. It can be interpreted as both the words are closely related with each other.
BENEFITS OF EFFECTIVE LISTENING
Skills of effective listening can contribute a great deal in personal enhancement in following ways:
- BETTER RELATIONSHIPS: Misunderstandings due to less communication are very detrimental for the workplace relations within an organization. It can end up bothering someone’s feelings. So, it is paramount to reduce these misconceptions by listening actively and making the person in front comfortable to make his points clear and feel free to generate good relations.
- ANSWERING QUESTIONS: For a better performance and productivity, individuals need to participate in every activity happening within the firm and even need to answer some questions. Giving answers become easy if one has some previous knowledge about that thing. Human mind is capable of storing some knowledge that people hear from surroundings but if things are listened actively, it can be even more beneficial.
- PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: Humans grow by learning and listening a lot of things from the environment in which they live. By applying the skill to listen effectively in their day to day lives, people can learn different point of views. It acts as a powerful tool to learn many important lessons of life.
WAYS TO BECOME EFFECTIVE LISTENER
Hearing and listening are two totally different terms. Listening process requires a person to be psychologically active. Following are the ways to become a good listener:
- EYE CONTACT: Maintaining eye contact is the first thing to be focused during active listening. Everyone participating in the conversation should sit straight and make an eye contact in a way that no one feels uncomfortable.
- RESPEONDING: Regular responses and answers to questions if asked can make the conversation more interesting which is only possible when everyone is listening to each other.
- MINIMISE EXTERNAL DISTURBANCES: External distractions can be very irritating and act as a barrier in the listening process. All of the external disturbances should be turned off.
- AVOID ARGUMENTS: As said by Hagen. 2008, listen not to reply back but to understand what is being said and the exact meaning of the statement.
- ASK QUESTIONS: Ask questions if something is not clear but first let the speaker wrap up everything.
BARRIERS TO ACTIVE LISTENING
Listening is very attentive process and there are many barriers to listening:
- CULTURAL BARRIES: Due to globalization, people from different cultural backgrounds and with different linguistic accents work under one roof. This diverse environment can hamper the listening process because of less understanding between the employees.
- BAD LISTENING HABITS: Every person is not a good listener by birth. People develop this skill slowly by improving themselves but there are some people who just pretend that they are paying attention but actually they are not doing so.
- WRONG SUPPOSITIONS: In any conversation, all the participants should participate actively. But some people assume that it is only the speaker who needs to fulfill his duty of speaking whether someone listens or not. These types of perceptions tend most people to ignore the conversation.
In an organization, feedback is generally defined as the evaluation of the work done by workers and supervisors. Feedback is discussing the strong and weak points of an individual or a group. This is not a very frequent process in firms because most of the managers hesitate or they might not want to give feedback. The reason is that most of the times feedback proves fatal for the productivity and performance. But this is not the case always. Constructive and destructive nature of feedback depends on the way it is given and received. There are some points that must be kept in mind while discussing about feedback:
- Points should be made clear. Using indirect language can cause misunderstanding among the speaker and the listener.
- Way of talking should be very polite so that it does not hurt the feelings of the person.
- Along with the suggestions to improve weak areas of work, strengths should be praised to bring confidence in workers.
- Receiving feedback should not be taken as insult. It should be taken as an opportunity to come over the mistakes that need to be improved.
ADRESSING THE SCENARIO
As discussed above, interpersonal communication skills, effective listening and feedback lays the foundation of any corporation. While working in an organization, employees deal with different types of clients. Sometimes customers act possessively due to some reasons. As in the given scenario, customers are unhappy with the services of the company. In this case the responsibility of the employees is to talk politely with them instead of talking back. If I will be the employee, I will listen to client’s complaints patiently and assure them that this would not happen again. I will discuss the issue with my manager and will try to find the solutions to improve the services of the company.