The biggest part of your day whether working or otherwise, is spent communicating. The greatest percentage of your communication time is listening. In fact, 40% of our time involves listening.
What is the Cost of Poor Listening?
When I ask this question, the cost ranges from $15 to $100 per listening mistake. Assume you make one $15 listening mistake per week. $15 per mistake multiplied by 50 weeks comes to $750. Now, if you have 100 employees and each employee makes a $15 listening mistake per week the total comes to $75,000 per year. Increase the cost for poor listening to $100 per week per 100 employees and the cost rises to $500,000. Poor listening leads to misunderstandings, conflict, rework, and poor quality, which leads to unsatisfied patients and employees.
Benefits of Effective Listening
• Fewer misunderstandings
• Improved relationships
• Less frustration
• Higher productivity
• Reduced rework
Effective Listening Principles
• Show interest
• Make good eye contact
• Give undivided attention
• Refrain from interrupting
• Ask open ended questions
• Paraphrase and summarize
• Eliminate or reduce distractions
• Nod, lean forward, raise eyebrows, smile
• Do not judge or offer advice without being asked
Practice Effective Listening Principles
Listening is the most important communication skill. Many people are poor listeners. Since most people enjoy talking, it takes a real effort to practice the principles of effective listening until it becomes a habit.
First, start asking good, open-ended questions of others in all conversation, especially when problems or difficulties arise. This shows interest and increases your understanding.
Second, relax and let the others talk more. Practice over and over until you become an effective listener.