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Active Listening
Human Resources » Communication Strategy

Chrm Message From: amarjeet Total Posts: 40 Join Date: 25/08/2006
Rank: Executive Post Date: 06/03/2007 11:06:05 Points: 200 Location: United States

Do you know how much time we spend on communication while awaken? See the
answer below.

On Active Listening - the heart of effective communication

Effective communication is not just a business skill - it is a ife skill & the most important source of personal power at work, family & social situations. Communication is the process of understanding and being understood through ideas, facts, thoughts and emotions. Good communication is determined not by how well we say things but by how well we have been understood.

One of the major facts for increasing interpersonal conflicts is poor communication. A recent study of 1200 CEOs of major Corporates reported that communication problems are the primary reason that many of the most capable business people failed or floundered. "Communication is also the most profound way to change brain chemistry" says Steven Paul, Chief of Clinical Neuroscience of the National Institute of Mental Health, USA. As people begin to speak, their blood pressure goes up, and microscopic blood vessels' changes are delectable at far distant point in the body. Concersely, when people listen attentively or tune n to the external environment in a relaxed manner, their blood pressure falls and heart rate slow, often slightly below normal resting levels. (The performance Edge by Robert K Cooper Ph.D. - p 73)

Listening skill is as important to effective communication as is speaking skill. Although some people are very good listeners, many unfortunately, are poor listeners. Listening skill is concerned with concentration and the ability to perceive the proper significance and relationship among the speaker's ideas. Real or genuine listening cannot be faked. To do it one must be what is called "fully present" by participating physically, mentally and emotionally.

Characteristics of Active Listening are:

· Emphasising on listening than talking.
· Understanding personal feeling, beliefs and positions rather than obstract ideas.
· Following the speaker rather than leading the area we think we should be exploring.
· Clarifying the speakers' thoughts and feelings.
· Responding to speakers' feelings, beliefs and positions.

There are five essential factors, which influence active listening. They are:

1. Motivation
2. Concentration
3. Empathy
4. Knowledge
5. Emotion


Motivation is the single most inmportant factor. The need to listen and a willingness to understand others. If motivation is absent the interest for listening declines and consequently the ability to sustain attention diminishes.


Lack of concentration can also be the result of poor motivation. However, another important factor is the rate of speed between the speaker and the listener. Most speakers speak at about 150 to 175 words a minute and the mind listens at a rate equivalent to 400 to 500 words per minute. So the mind works faster than the speaker can speak which means the mind has an opportunity to wander or to get diverted. Unless the listener uses his spare listening time in reflection & interpretaion of the speaker's
message, he will soon be lost.


The key to effective interpersonal communication is this, "Seek first to understand then to be understood" says Steven R Covey author of Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People. Empathetic listening involves more than understanding the words that are said. You listen with your ears but also, more importantly listen with your eyes and with your heart. You listen for feeling, you listen for meaning, and you listen for behaviour.


Alistener with no knowledge of speaker's immediate subject or experience misinterprets the information and unless he understands the speakers communication codes or language the communication breakdown will occur.


The listeners' values and attitudes constitute emotional filters through which all messages pass through to his mind. The immediate emotional state of the listener can be a major communication constraint. For example a person saddened by a tragedy can be very poor listener or conversely emotionally upbeat person can be extemely receptive.

During communication process, perhaps it is good to remind ourselves what Zeno said, "We have two ears and one mouth so that we may listen more and talk less."

Answer :100%

FeedBack : "It motivates us when you respond "

Chrm Message From: Smriti1982 Total Posts: 4 Join Date: 25/08/2006  
Rank: Beginner Post Date: 24/03/2010 07:30:00 Points: 20 Location: United States

STEPS TO BE TAKEN FOR Effective Interpersonal Communication

Effective interpersonal communication creates a feeling of community and intimacy where everyone's contributions are valued. It leads to proper understanding, sometimes on a deep level, depending upon the circumstances of the communication. To have really effective interpersonal communication you need to make use of a set of skills and knowledge and to evaluate these and update your communication skills from time to time.
Interpersonal communication has a dual purpose of presentation and representation. Representation is the basic words we use and the meaning we portray; people sometimes tend to think that this is all there is to communication and they forget that how they present their message defines them and their relationships with others too.
It is in this latter purpose of communication (presentation) that misunderstandings can arise. This happens when people fail to understand the message being conveyed, or when people fail to make their audience understand; both sides of this are important as the people in a conversation all carry joint responsibility in uncovering and understanding the true meaning of a communication.
Some useful skills for making sure you have really effective interpersonal communication are:
1. Refer to your listener by name. This makes people feel valued and appreciated; it also ensures that they know that you are talking specifically to them; it alerts them to that fact and encourages them to concentrate upon your message. If they are listening more closely to you, you are more likely to be understood.
2. Adapt your message to your listener(s). The message may have to be conveyed differently according to the role and status of the listener, as well as their level of understanding. Different parts of your message will hold special importance for certain groups of people so you may want to adapt your message so that these things are emphasized for a particular group. Making your message relevant to your audience is just the hook you will need to make people start listening to you.
3. The call to action may differ according to who your audience members are, because everyone has different responsibilities. If you have something that you want your audience to do after listening to you, be explicit about this; make it clear what you want them to do, without being too dictatorial about it.
4. Make sure you include all the information that is necessary in order to make yourself and your message understood. If you can repeat your message and illustrate it in different ways, so much the better, as members of your audience will all understand things in different ways.
5. Avoid jumping to early conclusions. Listen to the whole message first if you are not the one doing the main talking. If you think you have the idea of the conversation very early on, often you will find that you will switch off or at least not listen so attentively to the rest of the message and this is one area where mistakes are often made.
6. Be aware of any assumptions you are making; are they correct? Will your audience understand your assumptions or do you need to communicate to them too, for effective communication? You should always try to judge how you are being interpreted by others too. Ask questions and mirror back what people seem to be saying to you, paraphrased, so that you can check that you have the correct understanding. This also shows that you care about how the other person is feeling; they will warm to you and you will ease communication with them.
7. You should 'own' your message, using terms such as 'I' and 'my'; this makes your communication sound more genuine and sincere.
8. You should learn to express your feelings as that can make them clearer to you as well as to other people.
If you keep in mind these few tips and you try to practice them in your interactions with other people, you will see that you soon develop much more effective interpersonal communication, both as a speaker and a listener.

7 Fast Steps to Great Interpersonal Communication
Interpersonal communication has a lot to do with non-verbal cues as well as what you say. People unconsciously detect a lot of meaning - and sometimes misinterpret it - from body language. Making sure that you are using the right kind of body language can help to prevent an awful lot of problems with interpersonal communication.

1. Position
Believe it or not, where you stand or sit in relation to the person you are attempting to communicate with can make a big difference to the conversation. Standing face to face with someone can be intimidating and feel confrontational.

Instead, try sitting side by side. Better still, walk and talk together. That seems to bring people in synch'.

2. Read between the lines
If an argument has continued for more than ten minutes, the chances are that you are not addressing the real issue. Now may not be the time to do that if feelings are running high, but the choice is to take a break or address the real issue; any further arguing is just counter-productive.

3. Trust your instincts
Your instincts are a major part of interpersonal communication; they will help you to detect if someone is lying - for instance, if someone fakes a look of innocence, it is often subconsciously rather than any other way that you will detect dishonesty.

Of course, as well as the above non-verbal aspects of communication, what you say is important in interpersonal conversation.

4. Don't be afraid to be graphic
A graphic, specific detail can be really effective in
interpersonal communication. It can be really memorable.

When you want to memorable, give your interpersonal communication some memorable features such as a vivid detail, story or a detail. Be controversial if you want to and can handle the consequences.

5. Try to empathize
It will help your interpersonal communication immensely if you can try to see things from the other person's point of view. You will be surprised at how quickly simply acknowledging that the other person has a valid point of view will defuse many heated arguments. Part of this empathy is also about allowing pauses and silences so that you can both think. Try not to shoot words back and forth like balls in a tennis volley; pause and review the situation; think how you can progress a conversation productively.

6. Be clear
If you have a point of view to communicate, say it. Say it with an understanding that others have a right to disagree with you, but say it with conviction. People will listen to you and you will provoke further thought. In contrast, if people aren't sure what you are trying to say, they will become frustrated and they will also begin to distrust you as you don't seen to have the courage of your convictions.

7. Use appropriate vocabulary
It's no good talking in a way in which your audience don't understand; they won't learn a thing and your conversation will get nowhere. Use simple, everyday language and if you need to use technical terms, explain them. Remember to not belittle your audience, though; that will stop them listening to you openly if they feel you do not respect them.

These guidelines are all quite simple, as interpersonal
communication needn't be a difficult thing. It should be about a meeting of minds; a meeting on the same level. The message to be communicated should be the most important thing and you should be focusing upon how you can enable your audience to understand your message if you are the one to have something to communicate; if you are the one receiving the message, you should do your best to listen and give the other person chance to talk. Those simple things should really help you in your interpersonal communication.