What is Listening?
Like most people, you probably think a good communicator is someone who can speak well. Speaking, however, is just part of the total process of communication. In order for speakers to get their message across, someone must also be listening.
Listening is not an easy task. Everyone does not know how to listen effectively. Effective listening involves more than just hearing, or the reception of sound. To be a good listener you must also understand and interpret sound in a meaningful way. A good deal of thinking must go on in effective listening. When messages are misunderstood, it is easy to blame the speaker, however, the listener must also share in the responsibility. The average person misses about 75 percent of what he or she hears.
Listening effectively takes skill, self-motivation, and practice. Effective listening means concentrating on what the speaker says rather than on how it is said.
Reasons for Learning Effective Listening
You Will Get Along Better with Others. Listening actively will show that you sincerely care. It is a very high compliment when you listen to others, because it gives the speaker the sense of self worth and confidence.
You Will Learn More About the World. Television, radio, and conversations with adults and peers aid in your understanding your immediate environment and the world in general. The more knowledge you gain, the more you will enjoy the things around you.
You Will Be More Successful in School and on the Job. Your grades and interest in school activities will increase as a result of effective listening. These good listening skills will also effect your future (i.e. getting the job and salary you want all come about by listening). Many jobs require good listening skills such as telephone operators, nurses, doctors, auto mechanics, teachers, lawyers, etc.
Recognizing Barriers To Listening
Noise: Anything that blocks or distorts the message that a speaker is
trying to get across to the listener is a barrier to the communication process.
These barriers can be sounds of traffic, machinery, a dance band, etc.
Becoming An Active Listener
To become a good listener takes hard work!!! You must actively do your part to make sure you get the most out of your listening experience. This are things you can do to be an "Active Listener".
Prepare to Listen: In order to hear and understand everything a
speaker has to say, you must be ready to listen from the beginning. This
means arriving early, getting sufficient rest, or finding out as much about the
speaker's topic before you arrive.
Pick Out the Central Ideas: Listeners should pick out the key
ideas or central ideas. The main ideas or central ideas are often
mentioned at the beginning and near the end of the speech, thus pay close
attention to the introduction and the conclusion of a speech. The rest of
the speech develops these central ideas by giving supporting reasons.
Critical Listening and Thinking
A critical listener is one who analyzes and interprets messages
carefully. Your ability to analyze and interpret a message correctly
depends upon how carefully how listen for what is "behind" the speaker's words.
Listen for Faulty Reasoning: Listen for such techniques as:
Consider the Source: Consider who is giving the speech. Considering the source means learning to distinguish between the facts and opinions. Some speakers give their opinions and try to present them as facts. This is called propaganda, when is stating of one's opinions as though they were proven facts.
Recognize Nonverbal Cues: In order to accurately interpret a message, observe the speaker's non verbal communication. A good speaker uses gestures, facial expressions, and a tone of voice that support and reinforce the verbal message.