Listening Skills: Do You Listen To Reply?

Listening Skills: Do You Listen To Reply?

Let’s talk about Listening Skills. 

This may sound a bit odd but do you listen to reply?

Or do you listen to understand?

Listening Skills are one of the most important skills you can have.  Not just in your career but in your personal life too.

There are lots of ways that we listen:

  • We listen to obtain information.
  • We listen to understand.
  • We listen for enjoyment.
  • We listen to learn.
  • We listen to help
  • We listen to advise, etc.


We do so much listening throughout our day, that it becomes second nature.  We do not question what we are doing. 

But how well you listen can have a major impact on your job effectiveness. It can also have an impact on the quality of your relationships with other people.  We all think that we have good listening skills. And that we ALWAYS practice ‘listening to understand’.

But here’s the key:- If someone is talking to you. And you find yourself starting to form an answer in your head. Then you are not listening to understand.   What you are doing is listening to reply!

Research suggests that the average person listens at only 25% efficiency. That means that when you are talking to your boss, colleagues, guests or spouse for 10 minutes, they are paying attention to just a quarter of that conversation. This is terrible!

Turn it around, and it means that when you are receiving directions, or being presented with information, you aren’t listening to the whole message either! 

You can assume that you have captured the important parts in the 25% you actually listened to.  But what if you haven’t?

Listening skills are not something that we just learn once.  Or they shouldn’t be.  Learning to listen, and checking ourselves to make sure that we are listening to understand, is something that we can all benefit from improving on. 

In a fast-paced world, we have been programmed to extract information we need. And respond to it, quickly and efficiently.   And while guests appreciate a prompt response to their questions or inquiries, the risk is this: 

If we listen to reply and don’t listen to understand,

we can get it very wrong for our guests!

By becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity. As well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate.  If you only listen to 25% of what is said, you can’t possibly assist, persuade or negotiate effectively. Can you!

By working on your listening skills you will learn to listen to 50%. Then 75%. And hopefully, eventually 100% of what is being said.

You will get better at avoiding conflict and misunderstandings. 

And you will get better at finding solutions and helping your guests.

All of these are necessary for workplace success!

John Savage Avatar; Pointing up

Tip: Good communication and listening skills require a high level of self-awareness.

By understanding your personal style of communicating, and improving it, you will go a long way towards creating good and lasting impressions with others.


What do you think?

Written by John Savage

John H V Savage, is the Executive Director of International Hospitality & Tourism Educational Programs (IHTEP Asia) has spent over 55 years in the International Hospitality Industry and worked in over 45 different countries for Multi-National, National & private owners.

John is a highly entertaining motivational lecturer, as well as a TV star in China for his 5Star Butler Course. John is also the author of the What They Can Never Teach You At Hotel School eBook series

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