In a monthly marketing meeting, the marketing manager wants 5 of his staffs to conduct a research on market share on 5 different areas. Each staff is assigned a territory. The manager rejects, one month later in the same meeting, one of the 5 reports because the research is on the wrong territory.
If we assume the ability of all staffs is the same, then it is obviously a communication breakdown that causes the wrong research was conducted. The consequence of misunderstanding may be costly to a company. Often when a misunderstanding occurs on the job, it is attributed to a lack of communication, which most of time implies that whoever was delivering the message did not do an effective job. But what about the other side, the listener? Listening is important in business because it is the communication skill most often used in human interaction (Curtis, Floyd and Winsor 1992, p.56).
Between 45 and 55 percent of people's communication time will be spent in listening to others (Nichols and Stevens 1957, p.6, Werner 1975, p.26). However, listening is not a skill that most people perform well. Studies show that people do not listen effectively. On an average, people listen only at 25% efficiency (Nichols and Stevens 1957, p.ix).
It is difficult to define listening, but generally it can be defined as " a receiver orientation to the communication process; since communication involves both a source and a receiver, listening consist of the roles receivers play in the communication process" (Floyd 1985, p.9). Listening is a process that includes hearing, attending to, understanding, evaluating and responding to spoken messages. (Floyd 1985, p.9) Our own listening habits have been developed since we were born. Such habits are so well established that we perform them without thinking. But unfortunately, such habits are...