Listening is the ability to understand, analyze, respect, and appropriately respond to the meaning of another person’s spoken and nonverbal messages.
How Well Do We Listen?
- Most people/students cannot accurately report 50% percent of a spoken message or lecture. We start forgetting what we listened 20 minutes before.
- Without training, we listen at only 25% efficiency.
- Listeners often distort or misunderstand the intended meaning of spoken messages.
Types of Memory
• Short-term memory
The content a person remembers immediately after listening to a series of numbers, words, sentences, or paragraphs.
• Working memory
The subsystem we use to understand, remember, or use information to solve a problem or communicate with others.
Speech vs Thought Process
- Most people talk at 125–150 words per minute.
- People think at 400+ words per minute.
- Thought speed is the speed at which most people can think compared to the speed at which they can speak.
- What do you do with this excess time?
Use Your Thought Speed
- Use your extra thought speed to . . .
- identify and summarize main ideas.
- interpret nonverbal behavior.
- analyze arguments.
- assess the message’s relevance.
Apply the Golden Listening Rule
• Listen to others as you would have them listen to you.
• Suspend your own needs in order to listen to someone else’s
Stages of Listening
• The Receiving Stage
The first stage of the listening process is the receiving stage, which involves hearing and attending.
• The Understanding Stage
The second stage in the listening process is the understanding stage. Understanding or comprehension is “shared meaning between parties in a communication transaction” and constitutes the first step in the listening process.
• The Evaluating Stage
This stage of the listening process is the one during which the listener assesses the information they received, both qualitatively and quantitatively.
• The Responding Stage
The responding stage is the stage of the listening process wherein the listener provides verbal and/or nonverbal reactions based on short- or long-term memory. Following the remembering stage, a listener can respond to what they hear either verbally or non-verbally.
• The Remembering Stage
In the listening process, the remembering stage occurs as the listener categorizes and retains the information she’s gathered from the speaker for future access. The result–memory–allows the person to record information about people, objects, and events for later recall. This happens both during and after the speaker’s delivery.
Why Go to the Class?
• Class participation:
If you don’t attend class, you can’t participate in class activities. Class activities are usually part of your final grade, and they can help you apply concepts you learn from lectures and reading assignments.
• Class interaction:
If you rely on learning on your own (by doing the reading assignments outside of class, for example), you’ll miss out on class discussions with fellow students. Your classmates will often have the same questions as you, so going to class enables you to learn from them and ask your instructor about topics you all find difficult.
• Interaction with the instructor:
There is a reason why classes are taught by instructors. Instructors specialize in the subjects they teach, and they can provide extra insight and perspective on the material you’re studying. Going to class gives you the chance to take notes and ask questions about the lectures. Also, the more you participate, the more your instructors will come to know you and be aware of any help or support you might need.
• Increased learning:
Even though you will typically spend more time on coursework outside of the classroom, this makes class sessions even more valuable. Typically, in-class time will be devoted to the most challenging or key concepts covered in your textbooks. It’s important to know what these are so you can master them—also they’re likely to show up on exams.
Types of Listeners in Group
• Action-oriented listeners,
By comparison, prefer to focus on tasks that they and their fellow communicators have set for themselves. Action-oriented listeners will generally retain and share details and information which they believe will keep a group moving.
• Content-oriented listeners
are those who care particularly about the specifics of a group’s discussions. They tend to seek, provide, and analyze information that has been gathered through research. What they primarily choose to hear and to share with others, thus, is material that they consider to be factual.
pretend to listen, but are really someplace else mentally. You may nod at the appropriate time, look the speaker in the eye, or respond on cue. But behind the mask they are daydreaming, solving a personal problem, or forming a response to what is being said. A pseudo-listener cannot contribute to the group process in an effective way because he is not carefully listening to what is going on in the group
Art of Rephrasing
• The ability to restate what people say in a way that indicates you understand them.
• A form of feedback that asks “Am I right—is this what you mean?”
• Matches the content, depth, meaning, and language of a member’s message
How to Listen?
• Special time.
To have the difficult conversation, set aside a special time when you will not be disturbed. Close the door and turn off the TV, music player, and instant messaging client.
Let the other person know that you have listened to the message or read it attentively.
. Receive the message without judgment or criticism. Set aside your opinions, attitudes, and beliefs.
Be open to the message being communicated, realizing that acceptance does not necessarily mean you agree with what is being said.
• Don’t interrupt
Keep silence while you let the other person “speak their piece.” Make an effort to understand and digest the news without mental interruptions.
• Take turns
Wait until it is your turn to respond, then measure your response in proportion to the message that was delivered to you. Reciprocal turn-taking allows each person have their say.
Be certain that you understand what your partner is saying. If you don’t understand, ask for clarification. Restate the message in your own words.
• Repeat what you just heard
Confirm with the speaker that what you heard is what he or she said.
• Listen for what is not being said:
f an instructor doesn’t cover a subject or covers it only minimally, this signals that that material is not as important as other ideas covered in greater length.
• Take notes
We cover taking notes in much greater detail later in the next chapter, but for now, think about how taking notes can help recall what your instructor said and how notes can help you organize your thoughts for asking questions.