How we communicate in the workplace affects the level of performance in any environment. Listening is part of the communication process, and it involves attention to both verbal and non-verbal communication (Goad, 2002).
There are four types of listening, content, critical, emphatic and active. Active listening involves establishing what the person speaking is saying through words and body language. Eye contact, posture and gesture should be highly considered in active listening to comprehend fully what the person is saying (Goad, 2002).
Process of active listening
Good listening requires the listener to follow the following active process to fully synthesis what is been said;
The first step involves listening and understanding to acquire full meaning of the information. Remove all distractions to give the speaker full attention, this involves closing the door, switching off the TV or radio and cell phones (Perkins, 2008). Try to also read the non-verbal communication such as facial expression, hand gestures and sitting position. Allow internalization and try to focus on the speaker while taking down notes (Perkins, 2008).
The second process involves empathizing, which involves understanding the issue from the speaker’s perspective (Perkins, 2008). The listener on a one on one basis should try and look at the issue from the speaker’s angle while placing emotions on hold. A patient for example explaining severe pain in several parts, the doctor should emphasize to gain full knowledge of the pain.
The third process involves asking questions and encouraging the speaker by offering feedback (Perkins, 2008). A good listener should avoid being biased and stereotyping because this prevents good communication. One after listening should increase the level of understanding by asking questions about the key issue. Questions allow the listener to compile relevant information that they did not acquire before.
The last process involves paraphrasing, a skill that requires the listener to interpret what the speaker said in his or her own words (Perkins, 2008). The listener paraphrases to ensure that what the speaker said is what the listener understood. This prevents miscommunication between the listener and the speaker. Always find an interesting point to pick from in a dull but important conversation.
Benefits of active listening in the workplace
The process of active listening tests the understanding of the key issue, it encourages healthcare workers to clarify and absorb more on the issue at hand. It facilitates communication by helping the healthcare worker comprehend, retain and respond to what is been said by patients.
It prevents and untangles the chance of the listener coming up with wrong interpretations and unclear meaning. The process allows the listener to have full benefit of absorbing the critical message relayed (Goad, 2002).
The process involves having the speaker ask questions and providing feedback to the speaker. This allows the listener to get more information out of the patient and also helps the patient see things in other point of views (Goad, 2002). Lastly it assist healthcare workers establish further discussions based on what the patient has provided the listener.
Goad, T. W. (2002). Information literacy and workplace performance. New York, Greenwood publishing group.
Perkins, P. S. (2008). The art of communication and science if communication: Tools for effective communication. New Jersey, John Wiley & sons Inc.