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Is Anybody Listening I Mean Really Listening I like to listen I have learned a great deal from listening carefully Most people never listen Ernest Hemingway Often when a misunderstanding occurs it is attributed to a lack of communication which most of the time implies that whoever was delivering the message did not do an effective job But what about the other side the listener Listening is important It is the communication skill most often used in human interaction Between 45 and 55 percent of peoples communication time will be spent in listening to others Curtis Floyd and Winsor p 56 As our textbooks tell us listening is not a skill that most people perform well It is difficult to define listening We could say that it is a receiver orientation to the communication process since communication involves both a source and a receiver listening consists of roles receivers play in the communication process Listening is a process that includes attending perceiving interpreting assessing and responding Barker and Gaut p 47 Our own listening habits have been developed since we were born Such habits are so well established that we perform them without thinking Unfortunately such habits are usually undesirable and lead to poor listening There are a number of reasons for ineffective listening They do not apply equally to all listeners and the degree to which they do apply will vary from different situation speaker and topic But I think they represent common and important reasons for ineffective listening Rehearsing - your whole attention is designing and preparing what to say next You look interested but your mind is miles away because you are thinking about the next comment Judging - negatively labeling people can be lead to trouble Everyone has biases but it leads to ineffective listening Lets say you hear a speaker discuss an idea that you do not like you might stop paying attention
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