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Whether you are the speaker, writer, reader, or listener, you must make yourself responsible for clear communications. Enhancing listening skills and being knowledgeable about different communication styles can greatly improve your communication effectiveness.
Listening. Although most of our time is spent listening, research shows that each person hears accurately what is said only one third of the time; the other two-thirds of the time the information is distorted. There are five rules for active listening:
However, there are several obstacles to accurate listening:
Communication Style. All individuals fall within four communication styles: action, process, people, and idea. Effective speakers know their personal communication style as well as their audience's. The most effective way to communicate is to recognize other people's styles and talk to them on their own level. For example, people with an "action" communication style will talk about results and objectives. They are down to earth, direct, and impatient. The table below summarizes the different communication styles and their associated "content" and "process" characteristics to recognize when speaking or listening to others.
The styles and characteristics in the table are guidelines for better communication skills. In fact, they are at the heart of developing better listening habits and communication skills that could last a lifetime.
This information comes from a presentation by Dr. Joseph Greenberg, Professor of Education at the George Washington University, during the 1996 OPM National Performance Management Conference.