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Listening is composed of six distinct components Hearing: The physiological process of receiving sound and/or other stimuli. Attending: The conscious and unconscious process of focusing attention on external stimuli. Interpreting: The process of decoding the symbols or behavior attended to. Evaluating: The process of deciding the value of the information to the receiver. Remembering: The process of placing the appropriate information into short-term or long-term storage. Responding: The process of giving feedback to the source and/or other receivers.

Facts about Listening

Listening is our primary communication

activity. Our listening habits are not the result of training but rater the result of the lack of it. Most individuals are inefficient listeners Inefficient and ineffective listening is extraordinarily costly Good listening can be taught

Styles of receiving:

There are a number of styles of receiving information. The appropriate style is dependent upon the relative importance of content compared to the relationship and the involvement of the individual receiving the information.

Facts about Listening


Listening: Learned first, Used most (45%),

Taught least. Speaking: Learned second, Used next most (30%), Taught next least. Reading: Learned third, Used next least (16%), Taught next most Writing: Learned fourth, Used Least (9%), Taught most.

Relational Receiving Skills

Non-Listening: A style that is appropriate when the receiver has no need for the content and has minimal relationship with he sender.

Pseudo listening: A way of "faking it" where the receiver feels obligated to listen even though they are preoccupied unable or unwilling to at that particular time.
Defensive Listening: A style of listening used in situations where the receiver feels that he might be taken advantage of if he does not protect himself by listening for information directly relevant to him. Appreciative Listening: A style that is appropriate in a recreational setting where the listener is participating as a way of passing time or being entertained.

Listening with Empathy: A style that teaches an individual to enter fully into the world of the other and truly comprehend their thoughts and feelings.
Naively listening to customers: A style that helps build an ongoing relationship by helping the receiver understand the needs of the sender. Therapeutic Cathartic Listening: A listening style used by psychological counselors to help people who are having problems dealing with life situations. Therapeutic Diagnostic Listening: A listening style that is used to assess the needs of the sender.

Content Receiving Skills

Insensitive Listening or Offensive listening: A style where the listeners main intent is to select information that can later he used against the speaker.

Insulated Listening: A style where the listener avoids responsibility by failing to acknowledge that they have heard the information presented by the speaker.
Selective Listening: A style where the listener only responds to the parts of the message that directly interests him. Bottom Line Listening: A style of listening where the receiver is only concerned about the facts. "Just the facts man."

Court Reporter Syndrome: A style of taking in a speakers message and recording it verbatim.
Informational Listening: A style that is used when the listener is seeking out specific information. Evaluative Listening: A style used to listen to information upon which a decision has to be made. Critical Incidence Listening: A style used when the consequence of not listening may have dramatic effects.

Intimate Listening: The style that is appropriate when the speaker is communicating significant relational information being completely and wholly honest.


1. Can I be in some way which will be perceived by the other

person as trustworthy, as dependable or consistent in some deep sense?

2. Can I be expressive enough as a person that what I am will

be communicated unambiguously?
3. Can I let myself experience positive attitudes toward the other

person -- attitudes of warmth, caring, liking interest, respect?

4. Can I be strong enough as a person to be separate from the

other? Can I be a sturdy respecter of my own feelings, my own needs; as well as his?
5. Am I secure enough within myself to permit him his




6. Can I let myself enter fully into the world of his feelings and personal

meanings and see these as he does. Can I step into his private world so completely that I lose all desire to evaluate or judge it?
7. Can I accept each facet of this other person which he presents to

8. Can I act with sufficient sensitivity in the relationship that my

behavior will not be perceived as a threat?

9. Can I free him from the threat of external evaluation? 10. Can I meet this other individual as a person who is in the process

of becoming, or will I be bound by his past and my past?

Ten Keys for Effective Listening

Lyman Steil

Ten keys to effective listening

Find areas of interest.

The Poor Listener: Tunes out dry topics. The Good Listener: Seizes opportunities: "What's in it for me?" Judge content, not delivery. The Poor Listener: Tunes out if delivery is poor. The Good Listener: Judges content, skips over delivery errors. Hold your fire. The Poor Listener: Tends to enter into argument. The Good Listener: Doesn't judge until comprehension is complete. Listen for ideas. The Poor Listener: Listens for facts. The Good Listener: Listens for central theme. Be a flexible note taker. The Poor Listener: Is busy with form, misses content. The Good Listener: Adjusts to topic and organizational pattern.

Ten keys to effective listening

Work at listening.

The Poor Listener: Shows no energy output, fakes attention The Good Listener: Works hard; exhibits alertness. Resist distractions. The Poor Listener: Is distracted easily. The Good Listener: Fights or avoids distractions; tolerates bad habits in others; knows how to concentrate. Exercise your mind. The Poor Listener: Resists difficult material; seeks light, recreational material. The Good Listener: Uses heavier material as exercise for the mind. Keep your mind open. The Poor Listener: Reacts to emotional words. The Good Listener: Interprets emotional words; does not get hung up on them. Thought is faster than speech; use it. The Poor Listener: Tends to daydream with slow speakers. The Good Listener: Challenges, anticipates, mentally summarizes, weights the evidence, listens between the lines to tone and voice.