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Chapter 4 Listening Skills
Listening Skills: Introduction • Listening is an important skill for speakers. • Good listening can help: – During the research process – During practice when you receive feedback – During your speech as the audience gives you feedback
Listening Skills: Introduction • Hearing is passive reception. • Listening means actively paying attention to the message.
Listening Skills: An Overview • Reviewing the following topics will help you become a better listener: – The importance of listening – The process of listening – Causes of ineffective listening – Suggestions for improving listening
Why Listen? • Good listening can: – Improve a speaker’s connection with the audience by helping him or her respond to feedback – Help an audience member absorb information and critically evaluate claims
The Listening Process • Effective listening requires: – Processing what you have heard – Retaining what you’ve processed
The Listening Process: Processing What You’ve Heard • Processing involves actively thinking about both vocal and nonverbal messages and cues. – Allows a listener to make better decisions with the information
The Listening Process: Retaining What You’ve Processed • Retention is your ability to remember what you’ve heard. – Easier if you have good attention and listening skills • The attentiveness curve demonstrates the listening patterns of poor listeners.
The Listening Process: The Attentiveness Curve
The Culprits Behind Poor Listening: An Overview • • • Unprocessed note taking Nonlistening Interruptive listening Agenda-driven listening Argumentative listening Nervous listening
Culprits Behind Poor Listening: Unprocessed Note Taking • Unprocessed note taking means writing verbatim notes. • When taking notes, focus on the content of what’s being said. • Don’t take notes only to take notes.
Unprocessed Note Taking
Culprits Behind Poor Listening: Nonlistening – Not paying attention – It is as if the information is hitting a brick wall. – Retention is impossible.
Culprits Behind Poor Listening: Interruptive Listening • When one person consistently interrupts another • Audiences can interrupt to derail a speaker. • Speakers can also interrupt audiences, cutting off a question or comment.
Culprits Behind Poor Listening: Interruptive Listening • All interruptive listening is: – Rude – Limits listening – Decreases credibility and goodwill
Culprits Behind Poor Listening: Agenda-Driven Listening • Focusing so much on what comes next in the speech you pay little attention to audience members – Annoys audience members and damages credibility
Culprits Behind Poor Listening: Argumentative Listening • Listening only enough to fuel your own arguments • May occur: – If audience disagrees – If speaker feels attacked – If interviewer disagrees with interviewee
Culprits Behind Poor Listening: Nervous Listening • Feeling compelled to talk through silences • Makes it difficult to gather and interpret information
Tips for Culprits Behind Poor Listening • Tip: Some silence is okay. If you feel compelled to speak during a pause, count to three before you speak. • Tip: Planning, preparation, and practice can help avoid unplanned silences and agenda-driven listening.
Becoming a Better Listener: An Overview • You can be a better listener by improving your interactive listening skills, which involves: – Filtering out distractions – Focusing on the speaker – Showing that you are listening
Becoming a Better Listener: Filter out Distractions • Try to ignore external distractions. • Try to blot out internal noise, or any thoughts that make it hard for you to concentrate. • Examples of internal noise include: – Worrying about your grade – Thinking about your social life
Becoming a Better Listener: Focus on the Speaker • Keep your mind on what the speaker is saying. • Do not consider what the speaker will say next. • Ask yourself questions about what you just heard.
Becoming a Better Listener: Show That You Are Listening • Nonverbal cues that indicate listening: – Alert posture – Head nodding – Eye contact • Verbal cues that indicate listening: – Asking questions – Paraphrasing audience member’s question
Maximizing Your Audience’s Listening: Anticipate Ineffective Listening • Perform audience surveillance. • Consider audience’s attention and energy levels. • Assess audience’s knowledge and abilities, then adjust. • Front- and back-load your main message. • Use presentation aids strategically.
Maximizing Your Audience’s Listening: Encourage Active Listening • Tailor your delivery by adjusting your voice, volume, fluency, projection, rate, and timing. • Acknowledge the viewpoints of argumentative listeners. • Pause for questions to help re-engage defeated listeners. • Engage superficial listeners by making eye contact or asking questions.
Maximizing Your Audience’s Listening: Encourage Active Listening
Listening When You Are in the Audience • Providing a speech critique can help you and the speaker. • A good critique provides constructive criticism: – Take notes. – Identify main points. – Consider speech’s objectives.
Listening When You Are in the Audience • Other considerations during the speech critique: – Support your feedback with examples. – Be courteous and nonbiased. – Hold the speaker accountable.
Tips for the Listening Process • Tip: Keep an open mind when listening; every listening experience is an opportunity for learning. • Tip: Listen to others as you would like them to listen to you.