Some experts say we retain only about 20% of what we hear, so listening becomes a real challenge if we are trying to relate to others effectively. This arises out of the fact that the average person thinks four times faster than he or she talks or hears another person talking. This gives an individual 45 seconds in every minute for the mind to drift off and think about anything other than what the other person is saying.
Listening skills are therefore a vital part of the oral communication process. As an active and attentive listener, you learn to hear what people are really saying. Good listening requires energy – we hear the speaker, select information, interpret information and respond in just a few seconds.
Working at being a good listener is just as important as making your ideas understandable to others. Most of us think of listening as a passive activity where we take in information sent by others. But good listeners are good at concentrating on the communication process. Hence, good listeners are good concentrators. Effective listening is hearing what people are really saying. As with any other skill, listening needs to be practiced to be mastered.
This competency-based instrument has been designed to help you understand more about your relative skills in each of these critical areas, and give you a picture of your overall ability to listen effectively. This will help you determine where to target your development activities in order to improve your skills.
Although primarily intended as a self-assessment instrument, the questions have been worded so this tool can also be used in a 180 or 360-degree feedback process where several respondents complete a profile on the same person.
You may also be interested in the Effective Listening Coaching Guide with Storyboard and the Effective Listening Skill Builder.