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Chapter Outline

  1. The nature of listening
    1. The importance of listening

      1. Listening is the most frequent and important form of communication
    2. Listening is the process of receiving and responding to other’s messages

      1. Hearing is the physical process of receiving the message and is automatic, unlike listening.
      2. Mindless listening occurs when we react automatically and routinely, without mental investment, to messages.
      3. Mindful listening occurs when careful and thoughtful attention is paid to messages received.
    3. Listening styles

      1. Task-oriented listening concerned with efficiency and accomplishing the job at hand.
      2. Relational listening concerned with building emotional closeness with others.
      3. Analytical listening concerned with attending to full message before judging
      4. Critical listening is used to evaluate messages
  2. The challenge of listening

    1. Listening is not easy, and there are several barriers to listening.

      1. Information overload is a result of a barrage of messages; people often choose to listen mindlessly instead of mindfully.
      2. Personal concerns can hinder listening; people are often distracted by matters of more immediate concern than the messages others are sending.
      3. Rapid thought can get in the way of careful listening because our minds are active; the brain works faster than a person can speak.
      4. Noise is a result of distractions from our physical and mental worlds.
    2. All listeners do not receive the same message

      1. Physiological factors, social role, cultural background, personal interests, and needs shape and distort the raw data into different messages.
    3. Poor listening habits exist; most people possess one or more bad habits that keep them from understanding others' messages.

      1. Pseudolistening is an imitation of actual listening.
      2. Stage hogging is when people are interested only in expressing their ideas and don't care about what anyone else has to say.
      3. Selective listening is when people respond only to the parts of a message that interest them, rejecting everything else.
      4. Filling in gaps is what people do when they like to think that they remember a whole story and manufacture information so when they retell what they listened to, they can give the impression they “got it all.”
      5. Insulated listening is when listeners avoid what they would rather not deal with.
      6. Defensive listening is when someone takes innocent comments as personal attacks.
      7. Ambushing is listening carefully but only to gather information to later attack the speaker.
  3. Components of listening

    1. Hearing is the physiological aspect of listening.
    2. Attending is the psychological process of listening and is part of the process of selection.
    3. Understanding is composed of several elements: awareness of the rules of the language, knowledge of the source of the message, and the context of the message.
      1. Listening fidelity – congruence between understanding and what sender trying to communicate

    4. Remembering is the ability to recall information.
    5. Responding is the final step of the listening process and involves offering feedback to the speaker.
  4. Types of listening responses

    1. Silent listening is staying attentive and responsive nonverbally.

      1. Right approach when interjections are not appropriate.
      2. Silent listening can help others solve problems.
    2. Questioning occurs when the listener asks the speaker for additional information.

      1. Reasons to ask questions: Clarify meanings; Learn about others’ thoughts, feelings, wants (Open questions- allow a variety of responses; Closed questions – allow limited answers); Encourage elaboration; Encourage discovery; Gather more facts and details
      2. Some questions are sincere, that is, aimed at understanding others, whereas counterfeit questions are disguised attempts to send a message rather than receive one (Trap the speaker; Make statements; Carry hidden agendas; Seek “correct” answers; Based on unchecked assumptions)
    3. Paraphrasing is feedback that restates the message the speaker sent.

      1. Paraphrasing factual information includes summarizing facts, data, and details during personal or professional conversation.
      2. Paraphrasing personal information includes thoughts, feelings and wants.
    4. Empathizing is a response style used to show that the listener is identifying with the speaker.

      1. Identifies with the speaker's emotions and perceptions more than paraphrasing.
      2. Offers less evaluation and agreement than supporting responses.
      3. Listeners are not empathizing when they display the following behaviors: Denying others the right to their feelings; Minimizing the significance of the situation; Focus on yourself; Raining on the speaker’s parade.
    5. Supporting responses reveal the listener's solidarity with the speaker’s situation; they consist of the following types: agreement, offers to help, praise, reassurance, and diversion.

      1. When support is beneficial: When the expression of support is sincere; When the other person can accept your support; When focusing on “here and now” rather than “then and there”; Make sure you’re reading for consequences
    6. Analyzing is when the listener offers an interpretation of the speaker's message.

      1. Offer interpretation in a tentative way
      2. A reasonable chance of being correct.
      3. Make sure that the other person will be receptive.
      4. Ensure motive for analysis is to truly help the other person.

    7. Evaluating responses are when the listener appraises the speaker's thoughts or behaviors; may be favorable or unfavorable.
    8. Advising is the most common reaction to another's problem and may be helpful or harmful.
      1. Not helpful when: Doesn’t offer the best suggestion about how to act; Being in position of “advice recipient” is potentially unwelcome identity; Allows others to avoid responsibility for their decisions; People often don’t want advice or not ready to accept it.
      2. Consider: Is advice needed?; Is advice wanted?; Is advice given in right sequence?; Is advice coming from an expert?; Is advisor a close and trusted friend?; Is advice offered in a sensitive, face-saving manner?

    9. The appropriate listening style to use depends upon the situation, taking into consideration the situation, the other person, and yourself.

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