2. Development of listening skills at various levels is very essential for business success. Every business has its stakeholders and there is communication taking place all the time between the organization and the stakeholders, and within the various groups connected with the business.
If communication within the organization has to be purposeful, people need to listen to each other attentively. Hearing without listening is often a common refrain needing attention. Progressive organizations encourage the people within to learn and adopt active listening.
3. We have entered an information era and modern day organizations are described as information processing units. There is so much that is happening that needs to be shared with the clients as well as other interested parties.
Similarly, today’s worker is being described as the ‘knowledge worker’. People have to constantly upgrade their skills and knowledge, whatever is the business or profession they are associated with. While reading is undoubtedly an important source for skill and knowledge up gradation, active listening too can make a significant contribution.
4. One area where listening skills are becoming particularly relevant concerns the service industry, such as banking and financial services. In these organizations, businesses involve person-to-person interactions.
Products are sold and services are provided over counters and through customer outlets. Quite often, the product is not standardized, but tailor-made to suit specific requirements.
These organizations are making relentless efforts to know customer requirements and respond to them. There is a growing concern in every business to offer value added services.
This means that people at the counters, the sales force, the people who make customer contacts and everyone concerned with understanding customer needs should actively and sincerely listen to the customer.
Organizations which make a conscious effort in this regard are described as ‘listening organizations.’ Behavioural skills and attitudes that focus on attending to the customer are far more relevant today than in the past. Training programs that cover these groups of service providers are focusing on various communication skills including listening.
Good listening skills are particularly relevant in dealing with customer complaints and employee grievances, in hearing the voice of dissent and while seeking suggestions from customers and employees.
Suggestions will be more forthcoming when people in authority lend a patient ear. The customers of today seek reassurance that they are being heard. When they come up with a complaint, the minimum that an organization has to ensure is that there is someone there who lends a patient ear to what the complainants have to say.
Moreover, in most organizations, there are meetings and other interactive forums where business-related issues are discussed and issues resolved. All these can be effective only when people learn to listen.