Effective Listening

Unit Outcome: Develop appropriate techniques for adapting to various listening barriers and contexts.

Several research studies have shown that in everyday interactions, we are only actually listening to about 50% of what we hear(and that’s on a good day!). That means that we aren’t listening to about half of what others are telling us! It’s no wonder we have miscommunications all the time. Hearing is easy, but listening is hard. Hearing involves the physical process of sound waves bouncing off the eardrum. Listening involves cognitive effort, assigning meaning to what is said. So, as someone is talking 100 miles per minute, you are probably still processing the first sentence. There are many reasons why we only listen to about half of what we hear. Physical, psychological barriers (like being upset or hungry), External noise, disagreement, etc.. We will discuss many of these barriers in this unit. Being able to recognize these barriers will help you to pay closer attention to your own interactions and help you listen more effectively.

If you are truly listening, you should be able to repeat it back to the speaker in your own words. This is what we call paraphrasing. Not only should we able to repeat the words back, but if we are truly listening, we should also understand WHY someone said something and HOW they said it. We will discuss paraphrasing in detail also. Paraphrasing will help you check your understanding of others’ to help avoid miscommunication.

By the end of this unit, you will be able to:

  • Differentiate between listening and hearing
  • Explain the listening process (HURIER Model)
  • Recognize barriers to effective listening in your everyday life
  • Explain strategies for overcoming barriers to effective listening
  • Paraphrase a statement for content, intent, and tone



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