Effective interpersonal communication requires active interchange of verbal messages and non-verbal cues between the people involved. Imagine a classroom situation where the teacher is teaching but the students have put their heads down and are in no mood to listen to what is being taught. This is an example of ineffective communication even though the teacher is playing her part well. In this case, effective communication happens when the students sit up straight and listen to what the teacher is teaching, some keep nodding their heads as a gesture of understanding and some raise their hands to get their doubts clarified or to answer the questions asked by the teacher. Hence, decent verbal expression skills by one party and focused listening by the other, renders communication effective.
The golden rule is: Don’t just hear, LISTEN. Surface hearing results in unclear understanding and the consequence is – miscommunication, which may lead to a lot of chaos and confusion.
There was this lady at the Confectioner’s who had to order her supplies for the next day from a new shop as her regular supplier was out of town. She called up the new shop late at night and ordered for ‘12 dozen eggs’. The consignment was to be delivered at her doorstep within an hour before the shop closed for the day. The doorbell rang in 45 minutes and there was this guy from the shop handing over ‘12 eggs’ to her!!! Imagine the lady’s bewilderment! On enquiry it turned out that the person who had picked up the phone had heard it wrongly, hence the miscommunication.
Well, this incident may bring a smile to our lips. But, there are other instances where careless listening results in disasters. Just think if a pilot hears a ‘NO’ when he asks the ground crew for landing permission, as ‘YES’ and steers the aircraft to descend, what would happen?
Listening is an art. Patient listening is a virtue.
Attentive listening is one of the important ‘communication essentials’!