What role does active listening play in increasing workforce efficiency?

Image Courtesy of Barry Overeem

Here at EMA Events we organise facilitated team building days which focus on getting teams to practice active listening. By taking part in various activities it allows the groups to become familiar with how each individual member reacts to different scenarios. This in-depth knowledge of the individual players improves efficiency, confidence and productivity.

But what is active listening? According to The Balance Careers website, active listening is “the process by which an individual secures information from another individual or group. The ‘active’ element involves taking steps to draw out details that might not otherwise be shared.”

We often hear the statistics that communication is based on the 7/38/55 percentage principle where:

  • 7% of the meaning of a message is in the words spoken
  • 38% of the meaning is taken from the tone and inflections as the words are said
  • 55% of the meaning is based on reading the non-verbal communication from the speaker

The research originated from Professor Albert Mehrabian’s communications model: verbal, non-verbal, body-language, which considers how the emotional content can be misunderstood if the person receiving the message only hears the words and has no additional clues such as tone of voice or facial expressions.

In a world where communications are increasingly sent via email and text rather than face to face, it is a factor we should take into serious consideration, and underline the importance of corporate events as a tool to enable people to engage in those all-important face-to-face interactions.

 Stephen R. Covey

During our facilitated team building days we have seen not only a huge boost of moral within teams but also a massive jump in the individual’s personal development. With so many different ways of communicating available to us and the pressures of work meaning that we try and multitask, it can take a real effort to remember to really listen. However, by allowing teams to understand each other and teaching individuals to look for non-verbal cues it enables teams to achieve greater efficiencies.


Active listening teaches us to use summary and feedback to show that we have understood the message being conveyed and to encourage the person to expand further. By listening to each other and supporting the team to feel heard we give each individual the opportunity to contribute to the group and discover hidden talents.

If you’d like to talk to us about supporting your team and taking part in a facilitated team building day we would love to hear from you.