Being an effective listener is one of the most important skills you can possess. When you demonstrate you're truly listening to others, it has a tremendous effect on personal and professional relationships. Through my consulting work, I’ve seen how it impacts employee relations too.
Our world seems to thrive on multi-tasking now more than ever; consequently, the art of listening becomes a challenge. When we multi-task we concentrate on more than one thing at a time, which fragments our focus and negatively affects our listening skills. It's easy to forget how important active listening is and exactly what we need to do to really listen and get the whole picture.
Did you know that in a spoken message…
- 7% is conveyed by the words used
- 38% is indicated by the tone of the voice
- 55% of the meaning is translated non-verbally
* Source: Mehrabian, 1981
You want to hear what is being said and what isn't being said.
If only 7% of what we verbalize is conveyed to others we must ensure we are fully engaged and actively listening.
We must consider listening is about much more than just hearing the words being shared. It's about really focusing on the person speaking. Don't think ahead when someone is talking; listen to them in the moment, pay attention to the speed, volume, and voice tone. Often messages live below the surface and aren't evident unless we’re really paying attention.
How listening impacts business.When consulting, I find poor listening causes the greatest challenges. When employees misinterpret what was or was not said, it leads to team members becoming offended and disconnected; ultimately, negatively impacting employee relations and overall productivity.
Part of active listening is asking appropriate questions to seek clarification and information when you don’t fully comprehend what the speaker is saying. Through consulting, I’ve seen the direct correlation between listening and employee relations; the bottom line is, poor listening skills threaten team interactions.