Essay About Active Listening Exercise

Active Listening Essay

Listening

Listening is a natural activity. We all listen a great deal. If we measured importance by the time we spend on an activity, then listening would be our most important activity, as it occupies more time than any other communication activity. However, many people are poor listeners, even in everyday life. They tend to listen and think about something else at the same time. Rather than carefully attending to what the other person has said, many people think about their response while the other person is talking.

During our Interpersonal and Small Group Communication two-day seminar, we did many exercises that made ourselves very aware of our ability to hear, and at the same time, our inability to listen. The seminar helped me to identify the errors that take place during each of the five steps that describe the process of listening, namely receiving, understanding, remembering, evaluating and responding.

Receiving

Listening begins with receiving the message the speaker sends. Hearing also ends with this first step, when your ears are open to some form of auditory stimuli. I can hear people car-cading because the football team they support has won a match, but I am certainly not listening to it. When listening you receive both verbal and non-verbal messages, the words as well as the gestures and facial expressions amongst other things.

During the seminar, we performed an exercise in which we split into groups of three, with one person only talking, one person only listening and the third person observing. When playing the part of the listener, not being able to talk gave me the opportunity to realise what a lot of non-verbal messages are involved when a person is trying to communicate something. This was even more noticeable in the exercise, as we were told to talk about something that we were interested in, I realised that the amount of gestures from the person talking was more when she was talking about a subject that interested her.

Understanding

It is useless listening to someone unless you understand what the speaker is saying. Understanding the speaker must take into consideration both the thoughts that are expressed as well as the emotional tone that accompanies these thoughts.

The importance of understanding the speaker was seen in another exercise that we carried out in which the speaker and the receiver had to sit back to back. The receiver had cut out shapes, while the speaker had the form the shapes had to be put together to make. This exercise made me realise that how I understand something, even as simple as a triangle, and which side is the top of the triangle, does not necessarily mean that the person I am talking to understands the same thing in the same way. A great deal of effort must be put into understanding what another person means when talking about...

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Listening Skills

Introduction

Communication has various parts which could be effective with a view of improving the productivity and effectiveness of interaction. Listening is one part of communication that must also gain huge priority by an individual. Whatever is useful and beneficial must be interpreted in proper and way and reacting upon it accordingly is an art which is required to learn in proper way. The development of listening skills could be result oriented at various large scales in order to avail various advantages. It is to acknowledge that the listening skills help in two ways first is that the relationship within the organization could be build very easily and second factor is that it might help with respect to understand the mindset of person who is conveying the message. It is clear that the through effective hearing the thought process, the tone, gestures should be recorded and the idea of their actual message could be interpreted easily (Housel, 2001). Once an individual is able to understand the real reasons behind the message then the essence of effective listening comes into existence. Further for the purpose of building the personal as well professional relationship the huge consideration must be given to the development of listening skills.

Listening and its role in clarifying communication:

As mentioned above that the effective listening helps in interpreting the message that has been conveyed by other person. Effective listening is not only a task restricted to focus on words but it also involves reading the gestures, facial expression and tone of voice. Most importantly it is also clear that the people should understand as well that in what kind of circumstances the message has been delivered. All these aspects are part of effective listening and if one is clear with all these aspects then the communication could be established in proper manner. Therefore the interpretation of message is something which makes the communication very much effective.

Further it is also clear that the meaning of words never remains the same for different people. The difference in their meaning and message could be noticed at very large scale. It could be understandable with the help of example. For instance if a manager has asked help from experience employee then it definitely means guidance and if the help has been demanded form sub ordinates then it represents the assistance (Downs, 2008). It is clear that manager wants help only but the age difference, position difference and most importantly the level of experience creates lots of difference. Thus it becomes clear that words could never be presented in same manner for all people.

Benefits of listening in organizational setting:

There are various benefits of effective listening skills within the organization. The major factor is that whatever strategies and policies have been stated by the managers verbally those could be followed by the sub ordinates in proper manner. Ahead sometime the situation occurs that managers pass the instructions only through some normal or light discussion topics at that time if the employees are perfect listeners then the essence of message could be catches by them and positive results could be availed in proper manner. Ahead it is also clear that in scenario of confusion the listening could be effective. The organization that follows the informal communication structure they normally have the people who are good listeners and grasp the message in simple manner. ahead the organizational settings normally arranges the seminars and conferences which could have various benefits and purposes to come into existence., It is to acknowledge that purpose of seminars and conferences into increase the motivation of employee or to pass some set of instructions or providing the information about future opportunities within the organization (Kratz, 2005). So if the audience is effective listeners then the motivation could be boost easily and the purposes of seminars and conferences could be easily passed on. Further the effective listeners always remain attentive and disciplined as they understood situation as well. Thus in this way the organization can definitely increase their efficiency through effective listening.

Barriers to effective listening:

It is to acknowledge that listening is not very easy task that every person can develop this skill overnight. There is huge requirement of focusing on the fact that the listening should be developed in painstaking way and continuous practice is also required at very large scale. The major barriers are related to the low level of concentration. If any person doesn’t have good concentration then troubles could be experienced with respect to understanding or interpreting the message of another person (Burley-Allen, 1995). Further other barriers could be related to giving less importance to any conversation or discussion. So many people have this tendency that they never give adequate amount of consideration to the talks of other people and didn’t listen it in proper way. Thus this kind of lenient and unprofessional approach could create barriers in effective listening. Further as mentioned above that effective listening has its relevancy with the concentration so high level of stress is something that can minimize the concentration and problems in active listening could be noticed. The aspects can definitely affect the listening abilities of people in negative manner (Burley-Allen, 1995). The worst of the entire situation is that if people think themselves always right and the feeling of ego take over their emotions. At this situation people don’t listen to others. Therefore giving respect and minimizing the ego both should work parallel to each another with respect to increase listening skills.

Non verbal messages as listening skills:

The whole discussion already states that the understanding of gestures and facial expressions is also a part of effective listening. Hearing and understanding both work together. It is clear that when people show their facial expressions then also they have certain emotions behind their expressions which are required to be understood in proper way. It helps in two ways; first that the situation or emotion of people could be understood and the changes in behavioral aspects could bring accordingly (Vowels and McMahon, 2002). For instance if manager is getting angry with their staff the people who read their anger can try to bring some change and try to impress them. Further if someone is putting their trust on other individual then reading the trust or faith could deliver the confidence into another person. In this the message which is coming from other side, no matter verbal or non verbal communication, must be understood effectively (Vowels and McMahon, 2002). It increases the efficiency and the major aim of listening, building the personal as well as professional relationship could become possible.

Conclusion

Thus on the basis of four discussed areas the importance or the role or challenges associated to listening skills could be portrayed in proper manner. It is clear that listening is equally important as passing the instructions has gained within the organizations. Further the role of non verbal communication as part of listening skill is the interesting factor that can help in gaining the knowledge form this study (Everest, 2007). Ahead after identifying the barriers related to improving the communication skills the proper strategies could be developed to deal with problems and issues.

References

Everest, F., 2007. Critical Listening Skills for Audio Professionals. Thomson Course Technology.

Downs, L., 2008. Listening Skills Training. American Society for Training and Developmen.

Kratz., O., 2005. Effective Listening Skills. Tata McGraw-Hill Education.

Housel, D., 2001. Developing Listening Skills. Teacher Created Resources.

Burley-Allen, M., 1995. John Wiley & Sons.

Vowels, T. and McMahon, K., 2002. Listening Skills for Young Children. Teacher Created Resources.

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