Being an effective listener allows relationship building and leads to increased productivity in the workplace. To form an environment for effective listening, you need to know the best group sizes and the four types of effective listening.
Listening Effectively in Groups
The ability to listen effectively is when a message is heard in its entirety and construed into meaningful messages. The ability to be an effective listener is an essential skill that allows relationship building, which can lead to increased productivity. It is important to be able to listen to everything a speaker has to say and give relevant feedback.
Non-aggressive questioning should be used to further investigate. Lastly, it is important to summarize and repeat back what is said to ensure accuracy.There are four types of effective listening that will be discussed through the patients of Dr. Harold Smith. Dr. Harold Smith is a counselor and runs anger management group therapy sessions in the city.
He depends upon the ability of his client group members to listen effectively in order for the therapy to be helpful. Let’s take a look at each of Dr. Smith’s clients to better understand the different types of effective listening.
Types of Effective Listening
Selective, critical, active and empathetic are the four types of effective listening.Dr. Smith’s first client, Sally, uses selective listening to allow her to focus on just the important information, while ignoring the non-pertinent information.
Sally was listening to Dr. Smith ramble on about how his wife makes him mad almost every day. Dr. Smith said she made him furious the other day when she threw away his prized trophy from college track. He then went on and on about all of the track achievements he had since he was born.
Most of the group just rolled their eyes and tuned out Dr. Smith. Sally was able to ignore Dr. Smith’s track achievement lectures but was able to relate to why Dr. Smith got angry at his wife and the correct way to react. Dr. Smith noted that he talked his anger out with his wife and was able to avoid a massive temper tantrum.
Chris is another member of the anger management group. He prefers to use critical listening, which is investigating the speaker’s message by considering its appropriateness and clarity. In this type of effective listening, the individual is able to think and analyze the information presented to offer quality feedback and discussion.
Chris likes to further analyze the anger issues that each member discusses during group time. He likes to act like he is also a doctor and offers his own feedback regarding what he thinks each member should do to avoid blowing their top. Chris told Sally that based on her love of exercise he thinks she should use yoga and deep breathing exercises to avoid anger explosions.Abe is the newest member of the group, and he prefers active listening, which focuses on the speaker and uses restating or repeating as part of the process to understand the information. In active listening, the receiver of the message is able to translate the information into their own words, check for accuracy and provide feedback.
They also provide good advice and ask open-ended questions. Abe always prefers to repeat back to Dr. Smith what information he has given the group. For example, Dr. Smith told the group to not respond immediately and take a deep breath.
Abe said, ‘If I understand you correctly, Dr. Smith, I should pause, take a deep breath and then calmly respond when something happens to make me very angry.’The last type of effective listening is empathetic listening, which is where the receiver is able to understand the other person’s communication and feel what they are feeling. Emma prefers to be a receiver that is able to be empathetic and put herself in another person’s predicament. For example, Emma told Abe that she understood why he had screamed at his boss when he told him he couldn’t have vacation time. Emma, herself, had the same thing happen recently, and she could empathize.
She then told Abe that she left the office that night and thought about the best way to respond. The next day, she was able to ask to speak with her boss and learned it was a budget issue that stopped him from granting the paid vacation, so she asked for unpaid vacation leave instead, and he okayed it.
Listening and Group Size
Group sizes play a very important role in creating an environment where effective listening can occur. Dr.
Smith is very careful to choose the correct size group, especially for his anger management therapy sessions.Pairs and groups of three allow a cooperative work environment and, in addition, make it difficult for lazy or shy participants to hide. It allows the members to listen, pay attention and offer good feedback.A group size of four to ten is the optimum size as it allows a wider range of work expertise and collaboration. Members can listen easily because the group size is not too big that conversation will be detrimental.The last group size of ten plus is usually ineffective because it’s easy for members to hide and not work.
Leaders can have difficulty managing a group of that size and splintering or subgroups can develop. It is also the worst size for effective listening because there are too many members and distractions that can affect listening. Dr. Smith stopped making groups more than six when one time he had a massive brawl in a larger group.
Dr. Smith’s anger management group therapy sessions would not be successful unless individuals are able to listen effectively in groups. The ability to listen effectively is when a message is heard in its entirety and construed into meaningful messages. Selective, critical, active and empathetic are the four types of effective listening.
- Selective listening allows an individual to focus on just the important information, while ignoring the non-pertinent information.
- Critical listening is concerned with investigating the speaker’s message by considering its appropriateness and clarity.
- Active listening focuses on the speaker and uses restating or repeating as part of the process to understand the information.
- Empathetic listening is where the receiver is able to understand the other person’s communication and feel what they are feeling.
Group sizes play a very important role in creating the optimum work environment. A group size of four to ten is the optimum size because it allows a wider range of work expertise and collaboration.
Once you’ve completed this lesson, you’ll be able to:
- Identify the importance of being able to listen effectively
- Describe the four types of effective listening
- Explain the relationship between group size and effective listening