Successful organizations know that effective communication bolsters employee morale, boosts performance, and increases the bottom line. They also know that the strongest influence on the quality and outcome of all communications is the ability to listen well. Only by listening effectively can people respond appropriately.
Listening is more than hearing. Listening is the ability to receive, attend to, interpret, and respond to verbal messages and other cues, like body language, in ways that are appropriate to the purpose. If the message is entertaining, our purpose is to enjoy, so we listen and respond in a relaxed manner. If the message is intended to persuade us, our purpose is judgment, so we listen and respond critically. It is estimated that people screen out or misunderstand the intended meaning or purpose of a message in over 70 percent of communications, making listening the biggest contributing factor to miscommunication.
The Personal Listening Profile helps individuals identify which of the five listening approaches they use to process, organize, store, and retrieve information:
- Appreciative: Listens in a relaxed manner, seeks enjoyment, entertainment, or inspiration.
- Empathic: Listens without judging, is supportive of the speaker, and learns from the experiences of others.
- Comprehensive: Listens to organize and make sense of information by understanding relationships among ideas.
- Discerning: Listens to get complete information, understand the main message, and determine important details.
- Evaluative: Listens in order to make a decision based on information provided and may accept or reject messages based on personal beliefs.
The Personal Listening Profile also helps people understand when their most natural listening approach may not be appropriate, and how to adopt another approach for more successful communication.
Organizations use the Personal Listening Profile to:
- Enhance communication
- Strengthen customer relationships
- Improve management effectiveness
- Reduce conflict
- Develop leaders
The Personal Listening Profile Individual Report highlights strengths and growth areas for each communication style and provides specific suggestions for communication skills improvement. It includes a Communication Gap Analysis, an at-a-glance look at how the respondent's listening strengths and challenges relate to the intended message of the speaker. Enhanced action planning encourages people to reflect on how their listening style interacts with that of others and helps them develop strategies for reducing miscommunication.