Listening -What you need to know about listening
Listening is very important because it is the medium through which information is processed. It facilitates the learning process. It shows a good relationship and respect for a speaker. It gives direction and enhances a good reaction to what is heard.
What does Listening mean?
Listening is the ability to receive and understand information, lecture, seminar especially when speaking is involved. Hearing is different from listening. Listening needs concentration and determination. Hearing does not require concentration. In fact, everyone is born with the ability to hear except for those with disabilities. But not everyone can listen attentively. Listening on its own aids effective communication. The ability to listen is not inborn, it is a skill that must be developed and practised.
Factors that Enhance Effective Listening: Cultivating effective listening is not easy but with the following tips it is easy. They are:
- Avoid every form of distraction and side talks. Distraction could be from our phones or sitting beside our friends. Thought of what to eat, wear or drink might come up. You need to forget them and concentrate.
- Maintain good eye contact with the speaker. This will help you get information from the horse’s mouth (reliable source).
- Take note of the speaker’s keywords and phrases, here lies his/her message. In case you want to form a note, the jottings and keywords will enhance it.
- Sit in front of where you will be comfortable. Most speakers may not have a loud voice. So it is better to stay where you can hear the speaker’s voice loud and clear.
- Be interested in the topic of discussion. If you are not interested in the topic, it might be difficult to listen.
- Do not listen with the aim of attacking the speaker. It will only make you pick out the fault of the speaker.
- Avoid interrupting the speaker with unnecessary arguments. You might make the speaker digress from the subject matter. You can make necessary suggestions, opinions at the end of the lecture.
- Do not allow the digression of the speaker to weigh you down.
When it is time to ask questions, ask questions to assert some points.
- Give creative contributions and illustrations to support the speaker at the end of the lecture.
- Do not distract other listeners.
- Jot down your questions.
- Take note of the speaker’s facial expression for more information and understanding.
- Do not use harsh words on the speaker.
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Types of Listening
- Active or Reflective Listening: This involves being interested in what the speaker is saying. The listener in his own way can explain what the speaker said. He/she can give good feedback and response. An active listener is able to contribute effectively and also answer questions.
- Passive or Attentive Listening: The listener listens with interest to the speaker but does not ask questions. He or she is very comfortable with the claims and opinions of the speaker. The listener does not evaluate what he or she heard. If you have a passive pupil in your class, during the examination, he or she gives exactly what was given, even with the examples and illustrations given.
- Competitive or Combative Listening: This type of listening is used by senators and lawyers. The listener aims at picking out the fault of the speaker. He or she is not interested in what is said but longs for an avenue for self-expression.
Some factors might hinder active listening. Some are caused by the speaker while others are caused by the listeners.
Factors that are Speakers centred:
- Overdressing: There is the time which a speaker dresses in an attractive or absurd way such that his/her audience concentrate on the dressing. The listeners get their minds occupied with what is worn. Therefore, it is preferable for a speaker to dress simple or co-operate. For the ladies, avoid heavy make-up.
- Using a low and dull voice: When a speaker uses a dull and low voice, the listener will not follow up. They will barely hear what is and might have to strain their ears. If you have a low voice as a speaker, it is better to use a voice amplifier/magnifier like a microphone or megaphone.
- Unnecessary digression: As a speaker, diverting from the subject matter to something else might/can discourage the listening audience. If you must digress, let it be an interesting area or better still a comic relief moment.
- Using ambiguous and complex words: The use of complex words will definitely distract the listener. Most of them will try to find the meaning of the true word for easy understanding of what is said.
Factors that are Listeners centred:
- Being occupied with various thoughts that do not relate to the topic of discussion.
- Having your own personal belief that you are not ready to have a change of mind about.
- Looking at what people wear.
- Not taking notes.
- Fiddling with phones and using social media.
- Having personal hatred for the speaker.
Since we know the difference between hearing and listening, let us cultivate listening as a skill. We should engage in active listening and not passive listening.