Listening is as important as speaking. It’s impossible for communication to occur without someone receiving a message. Imagine speaking in an empty room – like a cell phone with no signal. Listening is the most important part of communication – university students spend 14 percent writing – 16 percent speaking 17 percent reading and 53 percent listening. - 60 percent in the work place is spent on listening. Better listeners rose to higher success Marriage counselors say that failing to take the other’s perspective when listening was most common. Much listening we do is ineffective – we frequently misunderstand others and are misunderstood in return. We become bored and feighn attention while our minds wander. We engage in a battle of ideas – with interruptions. We can become better listeners by learning a few basic listening skills.
Hearing can’t be stopped Listening isn’t automatic – many times we hear but we do not listen Sometimes we even tune out unwanted signals – crying baby, roar of traffic, unwanted criticism LISTENING CONSISTS OF SEVERAL STAGES Hearing Attending – the act of paying attention to a signal – an individual’s needs, wants, desires, and interests Understanding – the process of making sense of the message Responding – observable feedback to the speaker Feedback serves two functions: It helps you clarify your understanding of a speaker’s message It shows that you care about what the speaker is saying Research suggests that we should always try to respond visually in a non-verbal manner Remembering – research shows that we only remember half of what we hear immediately after hearing it. Within two months half of the half is forgotten – bringing what we remember down to about 25% of the original message. So, given all of the input within a day (music, profs, friends, TV – the residual message (what we remember) is a small fraction of what we hear.
Many managers rates themselves as good listeners – many employees rated them as weak or poor Many think listening is a passive activity – like a sponge that absorbs water – it is indeed a mental effort Many factors cause us to perceive an event differently – physiological factors, personal interests and needs, our social roles and cultural backgrounds all shape and distort the raw data we hear into uniquely different messages
People seem to get worse at listening as they get older Teachers are various grade levels were asked to stop their lectures and ask their students what they had just been talking about. 90 percent of grade ones could repeat – only 44 per cent of junior high school students 28 percent of high school Pseudolistening - gives the appearance of being attentive – they look you in the eye, nod and smile at the right times, and may even answer you occasionally. A polite façade Selective listening respond only to the parts of a speaker’s remarks that interest them – rejecting everything else. We are all selective – for instance screening out commercials/radio ads Defensive Listeners take innocent comments as personal attacks. Many defensive listeners are insecure people who suffer from shaky public images and avoid admitting this by projecting their insecurities on others – teenagers with parents Ambushers listen carefully to collect information to attack what you have to say – criminal lawyer is a good example – people talking to an ambusher will often become justifiably defensive Insulated Listeners screen for topics they want to avoid – drawing attention to an unfinished job, poor grades – they seem to have heard you, but they’ll promptly forget hat you’ve just said Insensitive Listeners don’t receive the messages clearly. They take speaker’s messages at face value. Stage Hogs turn the conversation to themselves rather than showing interest in the speaker. Interruptions are a hallmark of stage hogging and they are common feature in Western speech – we tend to respond to stage hogs in one of two ways. Passive: talking less, tuning out the stage hog, showing boredom or leaving the conversation. Other strategies are more active: trying recapture the floor, hinting about the stage hog’s dominance, or confronting the speaker about his or her narcissism. Turning the conversation into a verbal tug-of-war.
Effort Listening is hard work – heart rate quickens, respiration increases and body temperature rises (similar to physical effort) Message Overload We spend 1/3 rd of the time listening to verbal messages (five hours/day) Try to determine what is important to listen to . Rapid Thought We can understand 600 words /minute – the average person speaks between 100 – 140 words per minute. Thus, we have a great deal of “mental” time to spend while someone is talking. The temptation is to use this time to let your mind wander. Use this time to try and rephrase the speaker’s ideas in your own words. Consider other angles that the speaker may not have thought of. Psychological Noise We are sometimes wrapped up in personal concerns that are of more immediate importance to us than the messages others are sending. It is hard to give your full attention when you are waiting for an important call/message – preparing for a test or thinking about the great date you were on last night. Physical Noise The world presents many distractions for our listening – traffic, music, other people’s talking, and so on interfere with our ability to hear well. Fatigue or other forms of discomfort can distract us from paying attention to a speaker’s remarks. Consider your listening at a crowded Christmas concert. Sometimes to listen well, we need to insulate ourselves from outside distractions.
Hearing Problems Sometimes a medical condition can affect a person’s ability to listen. Elderly, deaf/hard of hearing, ear infection, cold, etc… Faulty Assumptions We assume that the comments of the person who is talking don’t hold much value. Talking Has More Apparent Advantages We have more to gain by speaking – goal to win over prospective employer, convince others to support your candidate (Mayor Pat), describe the way you want your hair cut. Is the chance it provides to gain admiration, respect, or liking of others – or so you may think. Talking too much can lead to stage hogging. Men typically interrupt conversations far more than women. Their goal was usually to control the discussion. If you are hogging conversation – see about cutting back by half – making a goal for listening. You will gain the appreciation of others. Cultural Differences The way members of different cultures communicate can affect listening. Media Influences There is a challenge to stay current with mass media (You Tube, Much Music, television, radio, Internet) Very little text and a growing amount of graphical information. These trends discourage any kind of need for careful listening.
Content-oriented Listeners are interest in the content they hear. They are looking for details. They give weight to the messages of experts and other credible sources of information. There is a risk at annoying people who don’t have the same approach. People-oriented Are concerned with creating and maintaining positive relationships. They tune into others’ moods – respond to speakers’ feelings as well as their ideas. There is a strong concern for relationships – you can become overly involved. Some may view this person as overly expressive and even intrusive. Action-oriented Concerned with the task at hand. They want to get at the heart of the matter. These listeners encourage others to be organized and concise. Their no-nonsense approach isn’t always appreciated by speakers who lack the skill to be clear and direct. Time-oriented Most concerned with efficiency. They view time as a scarce commodity. They grow very impatient. Benefit for deadlines – focus on time can hamper the kind of thoughtful deliberation that some job requires. Over 40% used at least two strong listening preferences. You can control the way you listen.
Informational Listening Is the approach taken when you want to understand another person. Listening to this lecture, to a friend’s experience from the night before, supper with your family – the list is endless. Don’t Argue or Judge Prematurely We tend to want to persuade or change the mind of a person who does not agree with our opinion. All of us are guilty of forming snap judgments before hearing them out. This is particularly noticed when speaker’s ideas conflict with our own. We tend to build on first impressions. It is also possible to jump to overly favorable conclusions about speakers. Separate the Message from the Speaker First recorded blame on the messenger was in Ancient Greece. A friend who is giving bad news, family member who delivers news of a family member. Sometimes, we might discount the message because of the person who is giving the message. Be Opportunistic Sometimes we might disregard worthless communication – an opportunistic listener who is willing to invest the time may find something valuable through listening even in the worst of situations. By listening carefully, you can answer the following (unspoken) questions. Is there anything useful in what this person is saying? What led the speaker to come up with ideas like these? What lessons can I learn from this person that will keep me from sounding the same way in other situations? Look for Key Ideas With long-winded speakers it is difficult to find the point. Most people do have a central idea or a thesis. By thinking more quickly than a speaker talks, you may be able to extract from the surrounding mass of words you’re hearing. Ask Questions Is about asking questions for additional information or clarification. There are sincere questions and then counterfeit questions (disguised attempts to send a message, not receive one.) Examples – Are you serious? You did what? (statements) Are you busy Friday night? (hidden agendas) Which shoes do you think I should wear? (seek correct answers) Paraphrase Involves restating in your own words the message you thought the speaker had just sent, without adding anything new. Careful not to confuse paraphrasing with parroting. Speaker: Wow, you look terrific! Parroting: You think I look terrific. Paraphrasing: You think I’ve lost weight? You can change the speaker’s wording Offer an example of what you think the speaker is talking about Reflect underlying theme of the speaker’s remarks Learning to paraphrase offers two advantages – first it boost the odds that you’ll accurately and fully understand – second it serves as a way of double checking on inaccuracies. Take Notes Sometimes it is important to take notes instead of relying your memory. For an example an address or telephone number, lecture notes, details from a deposition. Important to: Not wait too long before beginning to jot down ideas Record only key ideas Develop a note-taking format
Critical Listening Evaluating the message in order to decide whether to accept or reject it Listen for Information Before Evaluating Paraphrasing the speaker’s intentions can help here before evaluating. Evaluate the Speaker’s Credibility So if your friend, a millionaire investment broker, suggested an investment for you – you would probably invest. At the same time, if your neighbor made the same suggestion you might find the offer as credible. Decide: Is the speaker competent? Is the speaker impartial? Examine the Speaker’s Evidence and Reasoning Is the evidence recent enough? Is enough evidence presented? Is the evidence from a reliable source? Can the evidence be interpreted in more than one way? Examine Emotional Appeals You may give money to an organization raising money for the homeless – but it may not be wise to take a credit card offer that you can’t afford.
The goal with Empathic Listening is to build a relationship or help the speaker solve a problem. There are several styles by which you can respond empathically to another person’s remarks. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages Advising Research has shown that advising is not as helpful as we may think it is. Difficult to know if the person is seeking a solution Your advice may not offer the best solution to the problem Avoids others responsibility for their own decision therefore not pining the decision on you. Most often people don’t want advice Before offering advice: Be confident that the advice is correct. Ask yourself whether the person seeking your advice seems willing to accept it. Be certain that the receiver won’t blame you if the advice doesn’t work out Deliver your advice supportively, in a face-saving manner. Judging Evaluates the sender’s thoughts or behaviors “That’s a good idea” “You’re on the Right Track” Sometimes negative judgments are purely critical “I told you!” or “You’re just feeling sorry for yourself?” Constructive criticism runs the risk of arousing defensiveness because it can threaten self—concept Judgments have the best chance of being received well when two conditions exist: The person with the problem should have requested an evaluation from you Your judgment is genuinely constructive. Analyzing The listener offers an interpretation of the speaker’s message. Analyses like these are probably familiar to you: I think what’s really bother you is . . . She’s only doing it because . . . Analyses can make something very clear, but it can also create more problems if your interpretation is not correct. When to offer analysis? Offer your interpretation in a tentative way, not as absolute fact Your analysis ought to have a reasonable chance of being correct Be sure that the other person will be receptive to your analysis Be sure that your real motive for offering an analysis is to help the other person Questioning This is one way to understand the person’s better. Questions can help clarify and examine a situation more closely. Questions can be helpful but they run the risk of confusing or distracting the person with the problem. The best questioning follows these principles: Don’t ask questions just to satisfy your curiosity Be sure your questions won’t confuse or distract the person you’re trying to help Don’t use questions to disguise your suggestions or criticism Supporting Agreement You’re right – the landlord is being unfair” Offers to help I’m here if you need me Praise I don’t care what the boss said: I thin you did a great job Reassurance The worst part is over Diversion Let’s catch a movie and get your mind off this Acknowledgement I can see that really hurts These are the most important skills a friend, teacher or parent can have. Follow these guidelines: Make sure your expression of support is sincere. Be sure the other person can accept your support Advice after a death for instance is only helpful 3% of the time – after 9/11 saying that just being there was important. Prompting Using silences and brief statement of encouragement to draw other out as a way to help them solve their own problems. Consider this example: Page 159 Where you act as a catalyst to help others make a decision. Your non-verbal behaviors – eye contact, posture, facial expression, tone of voice – mechanical prompting is likely to irritate Paraphrasing Here you reflect the thoughts and feelings being expressed. Page 159 First, paraphrasing helps the problem-holder sort out the problem. Second, it helps the problem-holder unload more of the concerns he or she has been carrying around – leading to relief. Finally, listeners who reflect the speaker’s thoughts and feelings show their involvement and concern. Factors to consider before paraphrasing: Is the problem complex enough? Do you have the necessary time and concern? Are you genuinely interested in helping the other person? Can you withhold judgment? Is your paraphrasing in proportion to other responses?
Listening <ul><li>Most people need to think about listening in a new way. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There’s a difference between hearing and listening </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Listening isn’t a natural ability, and it takes effort and practice to listen well. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s probable that people will hear the same message in two different ways </li></ul></ul>
Misconceptions about Listening <ul><li>Listening and hearing are not the same thing. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hearing is the process in which sound waves strike the eardrum and cause vibrations that are transmitted to the brain. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Listening occurs when the brain reconstructs these electrochemical impulses into a representation of the original sound and then gives them meaning. </li></ul></ul>
Misconceptions about Listening <ul><li>Listening is not a natural process. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Listening is a skill </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Listening can be learned through instruction and training </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Listening requires mental effort. </li></ul><ul><li>All listeners do not receive the same message. </li></ul>
Listening <ul><li>Two approaches can help you become a better listener: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimize faulty listening behaviors. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand some of the reasons why you listen poorly. </li></ul></ul>
Overcoming Challenges to Effective Listening <ul><li>Reasons for Poor Listening </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Effort </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Message Overload </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rapid Thought </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Psychological Noise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical Noise </li></ul></ul>
Overcoming Challenges to Effective Listening <ul><ul><li>Hearing Problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Faulty Assumptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Talking Has More Apparent Advantages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural Differences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media Influences </li></ul></ul>
Listening <ul><li>Most people use one of four personal listening styles: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content-oriented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People-oriented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Action-oriented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time-oriented </li></ul></ul>
Listening <ul><li>There are three ways to listen and respond: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To critically evaluate a speaker’s ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To help others with their problems </li></ul></ul>
Informational Listening <ul><li>Don’t Argue or Judge Prematurely </li></ul><ul><li>Separate the Message from the Speaker </li></ul><ul><li>Be Opportunistic </li></ul><ul><li>Look for Key Ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Ask Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Paraphrase </li></ul><ul><li>Take Notes </li></ul>
Critical Listening <ul><li>Listen for Information Before Evaluating </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate the Speaker’s Credibility </li></ul><ul><li>Examine the Speaker’s Evidence and Reasoning </li></ul><ul><li>Examine Emotional Appeals </li></ul>
When and How to Help? <ul><li>Make your help is welcome. </li></ul><ul><li>First, think about the situation and match your response to the nature of the problem </li></ul><ul><li>Second, you should think about the other person when deciding which style to use. </li></ul><ul><li>Third, think about yourself when deciding how to respond. </li></ul>