Chapter Seven: Listening: More than Meets the Ear
It is the providence of knowledge to speak
and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
O. W. Holmes
The wise old owl lived in an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard:
Why can't we all be like that bird?
Edward H. Richards
College students spend their communication time on average
21% mass listening (radio and TV)
32% face to face
Studies show that most employers of major corporation in North America spend about 60% of each workday listening to thers.
Marital counselors identified "failing to take the other's perspective when listening" as one of the most frequent communication problems in the couples with whom they worked.
Adults said that the most important communication skill in family and social settings was listening.
Better listeners rose to higher levels in organizations.
1,000 human resource executives were asked to identify skills of the ideal manager, the ability to listen effectively ranked at the top of the list.
In problem solving groups, effective listeners are judged as having the most leadership skills.
A diverse group of senior executives was asked what skills were the most important on the job, listening was identified more often than any other skill, including technical competence, computer knowledge, creativity, and administrative talent.
When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice,You have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way, You are trampling my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, You have failed me, strange as that may seem.
When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself, you have contributed to my fear and weakness. But, when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel, No matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince You and get on with the business of understanding what's Behind that irrational feeling.
And, when that's clear, the answers are obvious and I
Don't need advice.
Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what's behind them. So, please listen and hear me. And, if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn; and Ill listen to you!
Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery
Dr Joyce Brothers
Listening is a process that consists of
Hearing is the physiological condition of listening.
In the United States alone more than 13 million people communicate with some degree of hearing impairment
On a given day, one fourth to one third of the children in a typical classroom don't hear normal.
Attending is a physchological process where we filter out some messages and focus on others.
Research shows that we attend most carefully to messages when there is a payoff to do so.
Understanding occurs when we make sense of a message
Responding to a message consists of giving observable feedback to the speaker.
One study of 195 incidents in banking and medical settings showed that a major difference between effective and ineffective listening was the type of feedback offered.
Good listeners kept eye contact, reacted with appropriate facial gestures, they asked questions and exchanged ideas.
Poor listeners has a slumped posture and yawning, etc.
Remembering is the ability to recall information
Most people remember:
50% of what they hear immediately after hearing it
35% of what they hear 8 hours after hearing it
25% of what they hear two months after hearing it.
M. Scott Peck, MD
An essential part of true listening is the discipline of bracketing, the temporary giving up or setting aside of one's own prejudices, frames of reference and desires so as to experience as far as possible the speaker's world from the inside, step in inside his or her shoes. This unification of speaker and listener is actually and extension and enlargement of ourselves, and new knowledge is always gained from this. Moreover, since true listening involves bracketing, a setting aside of the self, it also temporarily involves a total acceptance of the other. Sensing this acceptance, the speaker will fell less and less vulnerable and more and more inclined to open up the inner recesses of his or her mind to the listener. As this happens, speaker and listener begin to appreciate each other more and more.
It takes two to speak the truth —
one to speak and another to hear. Thoreau
Men interrupt to assert their point of view
Women interrupt to encourage and support
In heterosexual couples:
Women are more likely than men to seek information about their partner's emotion
Men are more likely to speak about and listen for facts
Men and women listened and had an MRI, neural imaging:
Men showed activity on the left side of the brain in the temporal lobe, which is associated with listening and speech.
Women showed activity in the temporal lobe on both sides of the brain although most activity was in the left lobe.
Types of Ineffective Listening
Give the appearance of listening but are not
narcissists; Try to turn the topic of conversation to themselves.
Respond only to the parts that interest them
When a topic arises that the would rather not deal with they fail to acknowledge it.
: Take other's remarks as personal attacks
They listen to collect information that they'll use to attack you with
They take all of the speaker's remarks at face value.
Why Don't we Listen Better?
Preoccupation Rapid Thought: We can understand speech rates up to 600 wpm but the average person speaks 100-150 words per minute.
Effort: Physical changes occur while listening: Heart rate quickens, respiration increases, body temperature rises.
Lack of Apparent Advantages
Lack of Training: In a survey, 144 managers were asked to rate their listening skills. Astonishingly, not one of the managers described himself or herself as a "poor" or "very poor" lister, whereas 94% rated themselves as "good" or "very good". Many of the managers subordinates said their boss's listening skills were weak.
Are You Listening? Probably Not!
If you shot off a gun at sporadic intervals and asked the students to encode their thought and moods you would discover that
20% or students, men and women, are pursing erotic thoughts
20% are reminiscing about something
20% are actually paying attention to the lecture; 12% percent actively listen
8% are worrying, daydreaming, thinking about lunch or religion.
A gun was fired 21 times, often in the middle of a sentence and found these statistics in Paul Cameron's Psychology class of 85 college sophomores
Talk Less: We have two ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk
Get Rid of Distractions
Look for Key Ideas
Ask Sincere Questions
Don't ask counterfeit questions:
Questions that trap the speaker:
"You didn't like the movie, did you?"
"You said you would call at 5 O'clock but you forgot didn't you?"
Questions that make statements:
"Are you finally off the phone?"
Questions that carry hidden agenda:
"Are you busy Friday night?"
Questions that seek "correct" answers
: "Honey, do you think I look fat in this dress?"
Questions based on unchecked assumptions:
"Why aren't you listening to me?" (Assumes the other person is not listening)
Paraphrase (also called active listening)
This type of feedback involves restating in your own word the message you though the speaker had just sent, without adding anything new.
The key to success is to restate the person's comments in your own words as a way of cross-checking the information.
Three Approaches to Paraphrasing:
Change the speakers wording
Offer an example of what you think the speaker is talking about
Reflect the theme of the speakers remarks.
Listening to Help
One survey showed that comforting ability was among the most important communication skills that a friend could have.
Its it best to let people work out their own situations. Before offering advice make sure these four conditions are present.
Be confident that the advice is accurate
Ask yourself whether the person seeking your advice seems willing to accept it.
Be confident that the receiver won't blame you if the advice doesn't work out.
Deliver your advice supportively in a face-saving manner.
Analyzing: Offers an interpretation of the speaker's message.
Interpretations are often effective ways to help people with problems consider alternative meanings--meanings they would never thought of without your help.
I think what's really bothering you is..
She's doing it because
I don't think you really meant that
Maybe the problem started when she
Guidelines for making an analyzing statements
Offer your interpretation as tentative rather than absolute fact
Your analysis ought to have a reasonable chance of being correct
You ought to be sure that the other person will be receptive to your analysis
Be sure that your motive for offering an analysis is truly to help the other person.
Don't ask questions that just satisfy your own curiosity
Be sure that your questions won't confuse or distract the person.
Don't use questions to disguise your suggestions or criticism.
Supporting: Reveal a listeners solidarity with the speaker's situation
Agreement: "Your 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 think your a terrific person."
Reassurance: "he worst part is over, it will get easier from here."
Diversion:" Let's catch a movie and get your mind off this."
These Do NOT Demonstrate Emphatic Listening
Deny the other's feelings
: "It's silly to feel that way."
Minimize the significance of the situation
" "It was only puppy love, it's no big deal."
Focus on the then and there rather than the here and now:
"You'll feel better tomorrow."
"It's your own fault, you never should have done that."
"Don't blame me, I've done my part."
Rain on the Speaker's Parade:
Big deal, I got one of those years ago."
Mourners who had recently suffered the death of a loved one reported that:
80% of the statements made to them were unhelpful
1/2 of the unhelpful statements were advice: You've got to get out more.
Advice was only helpful 3% of the time: Don't question God's will
The next most frequent response was reassurance: "She's out of pain now."
Reassurance was helpful only 3% of the time.
Most helpful was to acknowledge the mourner's feelings.
In a study of 125 grieving persons in Tampa, psychologist Catherine M. Sanders asked participants what was most important in helping them through their grief. They overwhelmingly answered, "Friends, family, neighbors -- anyone who would take the time to listen."
How to Acknowledge Feelings: Prompting and Paraphrasing
Prompting involves using silence and brief statements of encouragement to draw others out in so doing to help them solve their own problems.