We have two ears and one mouth so that we can
listen twice as much as we speak. ~ Epictetus
How much time do you spend Listening?
On average, students spend…
• 9% of their time writing
•16% of their time reading
•30% of their time speaking
•45% of their time listening
• Of the time spent communicating each day, 45% is devoted to listening.
• Usually a person only remembers about 50% of what is said to them.
• After eight hours they forget another 1/2 to 1/3 of what was originally
So that means you typically forget about 75% of what
Why is listening important?
Listening will help you in…
•Social groups & organizations
•Making informed decisions
•On the job
FACT or FICTION?
Listening and hearing are the same thing?
Hearing is the first step but doesn’t mean you understand what you hear.
Listening is easy?
Listening is a complex process that requires energy, effort, and skills.
The speaker is primarily responsible for the message sent?
Speaker and listener share the responsibility. A listener may have to make up
for a sender’s lack of ability.
Steps in the listening process
beliefs and self-concept
Your own needs,
interests, attitudes, and
knowledge affects your
choice to pay attention.
Not everyone hears the
same way. Men
actually prefer certain
The reception of
You first respond
intellectually. Then you
decide how to respond.
Your reaction to the
message. It can be
Deciding what the
message means to
The act of choosing
to focus attention on
Definition of listening:
It is a physical and psychological
process that involves choosing to listen,
understanding, and responding to
symbolic messages from others.
Noise – Internal and external distractions
◦ Examples: outside sounds, distracting thoughts
Barriers – Blocks listening/understanding.
◦ Unfamiliar language, anger, attitudes, biases, needs, beliefs, fear, hearing
problems, tuning out, stress, ignorance, prejudices, tired.
Memory – 3 types
◦ Immediate – Recalling information for a brief period of time.
◦ Short term – Recalling information for carrying out a routine or daily task.
◦ Long term – Recalling information from past experience.
The average person speaks at a rate of
about 150 words per minute.
Listeners, however, can understand
messages presented at a rate of 380
words per minute.
Often that “lag” time causes listeners to let their minds wander.
You have to learn to focus your attention on the message.
– Participates fully
in the communication process. You listen
attentively, provide feedback, and strive to
understand and remember messages.
– Does not
actively participate in interactions. They
think they can absorb information even
when they do not contribute to the
interaction. They place the responsibility
for successful communication on the
– Short bursts
of active listening are interrupted by noise
and other distractions. They intend to pay
attention, but allow their minds to wander.
Apply what you hear to yourself.
• Relate the information to your personal experience.
• Use your own knowledge to understand new information.
• Imagine using the information in the future.
Think as you listen
• Summarize and review throughout a presentation.
• Picture things in your mind – “see it”
• Use mnemonic devices – rhyme, acronym, etc.
• Do not write every word – paraphrase; focus on key phrases
• Use the same method for taking notes
• Show others you are listening with body language and eye
contact and ask questions.
Listening for fun.
Used in social situations like concerts,
plays or sporting events.
Used when listening to lecture
Goal is enjoyment and helps a person
Used when listening to announcements
or getting directions.
rit Used when you need to remember
Listening to enjoy or appreciate a
speaker’s message or performance.
Listening to comprehend ideas and information in order to
achieve a specific purpose or goal.
Kinds of Listening
Listening to understand, participate and
enhance a relationship.
Listening to understand, analyze, and
Usually used in interactions between
two people or a small group.
Goal is to develop understanding and appreciation of
the meanings & feelings of sender.
You try to put yourself in another
person’s place, but not necessarily
agree with them.
Used when receiving and evaluating
Use when you must make decisions.
It should make you think.
1. Tuning out dull topics
◦ Many listeners decide that a topic is not interesting. However, it has been
said that there are no uninteresting subjects, only uninterested people.
Don’t be a lazy listener!
◦ Remedy – Listen for something you want or need. You can always find
something of value in what another person is saying.
2. Faking attention
◦ When we find someone’s conversation boring, but are too polite (or afraid)
to risk offending the person, we pretend to pay attention, though our minds
are a thousand miles away.
◦ Remedy – Sincerely pay attention. Lean forward, maintain good eye
contact, react in a natural way with smiles or nods, ask questions. Good
listening is not passive – it takes energy to listen!
3. Yielding to distractions
◦ Outside noises or movements often affect our concentration.
◦ Remedy – Choose a suitable environment to have conversations. Learn
to ignore the distractions and don’t become a distraction.
4. Criticizing delivery or physical appearance
◦ Many people don’t listen when they become overly critical of the speaker’s
physical appearance or delivery. The content of his/her message is
always far more important than the form of his/her delivery.
◦ Remedy – Pay attention to what is said, not how. Be generous enough to
overlook difficulties the speaker is having.
5. Jumping to conclusions
◦ Be patient. We often think that we know what a person is going to say
before they have even finished speaking. Occasionally, we are biased
toward a speaker and so we close our minds to the speaker’s message
before we have heard it in its entirety.
◦ Remedy – Don’t judge before you have heard the whole message. Hear
the speaker out. Understand their point of view fully before accepting or
◦ Do you spend most of your listening time actually listening or do you spend
it thinking about what you want to say? Interrupting someone is an almost
certain sign that you don’t know or care about what the other person is
Remedy – Take time to think about what is being said before responding.
Wait for an opening. Put yourself in their shoes.
7. Overreacting to emotional words
◦ We will react to certain words or phrases that push our “hot buttons.” At
times, we might experience a strong emotional reaction that blocks our
ability to listen. We might let our thoughts wander on to other subjects,
blocking the speaker’s message from our minds.
Remedy – Stay calm. Finish listening. Don’t let a mere symbol for
something stand between you and learning. Think before responding.