Movie Tribute Essay, Research Paper
Interpersonal Communication Paper#2
Listening, the Way To Liberation
Listening is the most common and frequently used form of communication. It is considered to be one of the most important skills vital to any context applied in life. Besides being the most frequent form of communication, listening is arguably just as significant as speaking in terms of making relationships work, skills needed in creating and maintaining a marriage, in parenting children effectively, and in working together and making effective decisions on the job. However, people often fail to realize and make sense of listening as the missing element in communication to help resolve a large or small portion of their problems. In one particular survey marriage counselors identified failure to take the other s perspective when listening, as one of the most frequent communication problems in the couples with which they work (Vangelisti pg 109). Along with its lack of attention and emphasis, understanding of listening suffers from several misconceptions. Although, listening can be improved can be improved through instruction and training; many have failed to fulfill the proper need that improving ones listening is a good investment of your time and energy.
However, most people commonly misunderstand listening. The common misconceptions many believe to be is true is if they ve heard another person s message, they ve engaged in listening. Quite the contrary, hearing is not listening, if it were listening it would not be coined as a challenge. Hearing as it is appropriately defined is the process wherein sound waves strike the eardrums and cause vibrations that are transmitted to the brain. So, one can listen to another person speak and yet not process or give the sound any meaning. An example is when a husband is speaking to his wife about a particular issue and then he asks her, Are you listening to what I m saying, she responds quite assuring and repeats what he said. However, what the wife does not understand is that she just repeated what her husband said from short-term memory than replay the message back to him. On the other hand, listening occurs when the brain reconstructs these electrochemical impulses into a representation of the original sound and then gives them meaning.
Why are people such poor listeners when it is such an important skill in developing and maintaining relationships? First, there is the habit of tuning out, which involves the processes of selective attention and selective perception. You hear what you want to hear and screen out what you don t. The following are examples of a Wife who shares her feelings with her husband after going to her friend s house and reveals to her husband that her friend Janet, is suffering from a financial crisis because her spouse has a gambling habit. Wife: I feel sorry for Janet. I went next door to see her this afternoon and well, you know I told you what happened to her last week.
Husband, not looking up, busy eating: Did you? What happened, I don t remember. On another occasion, an Employer requests for one of his employees to complete a tasks in which he specifically asked his employee to complete on a certain time. On a Friday afternoon: Employer: Do you have that report written yet? I said in our meeting on Monday that it must be mailed by 5 o clock today. Employee responds: Oh, oh, I m sorry, I don t remember you saying anything about that report. I must have forgotten. Both parties are guilty of selective listening, because each had tuned the other out and discounted the importance of the message. Because neither was listening to what the other was saying, they missed out on an opportunity to strengthen their relationship. If the husband had listened to his wife s anxieties and concern about Janet s problems, and if the employee had recognized the importance of having the report completed, both would have a better understanding of each other s position.
Unfortunately, poor listening behaviors are rampant in the classroom, as I have observed. A professor was giving a lecture in a class session when a student was not listening. While the professor was explaining a concept in my math class, he would turn to the students and select the unlucky student, who he suspected of not listening. One such student was picked. He would look the student sternly and earnestly ask, So, therefore, from the principle I just explained, how would I solve this equation. Surprisingly, the student was startled and he would look at the professor in disbelief. The student would use some nonverbal behaviors that suggested he did not know the answer to the problem. A simple pretext such as smile and shrug off the professor s message. This listening behavior is known as pseudolistening. Pseudolistening is an imitation of the real thing. Good pseudolistening gives the appearance of being attentive: They make eye contact, nod and smile at the right times, and even answer you occasionally (Gibb, J. Pg. 143-144). Pseudolisteners use a polite fa ade to mask thoughts that have nothing to do with what the speaker is saying.
Listening takes even a defensive form as I have evaluated a couple arguing. My friend and his girlfriend were discussing a financial matter involving my friend s mother. When his girlfriend asked, How much does your mother make a year? When he responded reluctantly, She makes $20,000. Then she responded, Is that enough. Frustrated and irritated he responded defensively by saying, Well, I m not one of some of your trust fund babies that you know, if moneys your thing I m not the man for you, why don t you go ahead and say your mother alone makes half that much too! His girlfriend was a victim of defensive listening. People who engage in defensive listening take innocent comments as personal attacks. It s clear that these listeners are suffering from shaky presenting images, and avoid facing this by projecting their own insecurities onto others (Gibb, J. pg 145). His girlfriend was not attempting to degrade her boyfriend s family s personal income but, curious to know their status and surprised in comparison to her own family s income.
Moreover, there are the stage hogs who are interested only in expressing their ideas and don t care about what anyone else has to say. These people allow you to speak from time to time, but only to catch their breath and use your remarks as a basis for their own rambling, or keep you from avoiding them. I was in a situation where my friend recently terminated a long-term relationship with his girlfriend. Throughout the whole conversation he was expressing his emotions and how he could not defeat the feelings. Every time I try to emit some empathic advice, he would just babble how he felt some more. I felt I was wasting my breath, so I just listened out of courtesy.
The habit of insulated listening takes effect when the protagonist is avoiding something, whenever a topic arises they d rather not deal with, insulated listeners simply fail to hear or acknowledge it. I found myself applying this habit whenever I m criticized about my character. There have been times where I had to listen to my father babbling whenever I forgot to find out a significant date about an event I was supposed to attend to. He would always give me a lecture about how I never plan things ahead or bother to find out and this will lead to my own shortcomings whatever I approach to do in life.
However, there are ways in becoming a better listener. One of the keys to listening is the ability to listen in a non-judgmental way to listen for understanding and not for agreement. This process is known as passive listening. In addition, passive listening allows the other person a chance to speak uninterrupted. Passive listening is useful when a person is uptight and wants to share feeling that are bothering or behaviors that are upsetting. It is also useful in a brainstorming type of situation when you just want to be heard and understood. It is not appropriate when the goal in communicating is to manipulate the other person, or only to communicate negative feelings and judgments. It only works if each person can really accept where the other is coming from; and then uses the process for solving, or as a means of entering the life of the other person. Passive listening is a skill that must be developed and used.
The other form is active listening. Active listening involves feedback that avoids judgments of the speaker s message while attempting to gain a clear understanding of both surface meaning and underlying messages. For example, when my boss asked me some advice involving a project, without any biased opinion I gave him my insights on to the project.
Conclusively, you may think, What is so important about listening? I listen! Sure you do but, how? How adept are you, for example, in getting people to come right out and really talk to you? Before you can get the most out of a listening situation, others must first believe that you really want to listen. They must feel that when they tell you something, it will be received by you in the proper spirit. Learn to listen beyond the words, with your heart as well as your ears. Observe the signs of the inner feelings such as voice quality, facial expressions, body posture and motions, etc. These actions are revealing, and sometimes may have an opposite meaning from the spoken word. A friend put it this way: You listened as if you wanted to hear what I was going to say, as if it was really important to you. And that makes me feel good!