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chapter 3 outline - DeVito

Concepts of this chapter
• the importance of listening: task and relationships benefits
• stages of listening
• styles of effective listening
• listening differences: culture and gender
Knowledge Objectives
After completing this chapter, students should be able to
• define listening and the ways they listen
• explain how culture and gender may influence listening
Skills Objectives
After completing this chapter, students should
• listen more effectively during each of the five listening stages
• adjust their listening so that it is more effective for a specific situation
• listen with an awareness of cultural and gender differences
Instructional Outline
I. The Importance of Listening: Task and Relationship Benefits – effective listening (the
process of receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding to spoken and/or nonverbal
messages) serves important task and relationship functions.
• Various studies have shown that effective listeners are more likely to emerge of as group
leaders, salespeople, managers, and health care workers
• Various studies suggest that we spend more time listening than engaging in any other
communicative activity
• Effective listening leads to numerous benefits including the following abilities:
o to learn: to acquire knowledge of others, the world and yourself; to avoid
problems and difficulties; to make more reasoned and reasonable decisions
o to relate: you are more likely to gain social acceptance if you are an attentive and
supportive listener
o to influence: people are more likely to respect and follow those they feel have
listened to and understood them
o to play: knowing when to engage in appreciative and accepting listening is
crucial to effective communication
o to help: through effective listening people empathize and come to understand
others’ perspectives more deeply
II. The Stages of Listening – listening is a complex and circular process that occurs in five stages:
 Receiving: hearing auditory stimuli. This stage can be made more effective if you:
o focus attention on the speaker
o avoid distractions in the environment
o refrain from thinking about how you will respond
o maintain your role of listener by not interrupting
o confront mixed messages
- Speakers may ask hearers to cut them slack through the process of disclaiming. Popular
disclaiming techniques include:
o hedging: asking the listener to separate the message from the speaker (e.g., “I
didn’t see the movie yet so I may be wrong, but according to the reviews”)
o credentialing: asking the listener to disqualify the speaker for saying something that
might be taken negatively (e.g., “As you know, I’m not an elitist, but it seems to
me . . .”)
o sin licenses: asking the listener for permission to deviate from normal operating
procedures (e.g., “This may not be the right place or time but . . .”)
o cognitive disclaimers: asking the listener to see one as being in full possession of his
or her faculties (e.g., “I know I’ve been an emotional mess lately, but I am
thinking quite clearly now . . .”)
o appeals for suspense of judgment: asking the listener to refrain from judgment until
she has heard the whole story (e.g., “I know this will sound crazy, but hear me
out . . .”)

Understanding: decoding the speaker’s messages; more effective if you:
- relate the speaker’s information to what you already know
- see the speaker’s messages from the speaker’s point of view
- ask questions for clarification
- rephrase (paraphrase) speaker’s ideas to facilitate mutual understanding
Remembering: retaining messages received and understood for at least some period of
time. This stage can be made more effective if you:
- identify speaker’s main ideas and supporting evidence
- summarize messages in ways that are easy for you to retain
- repeat names and key concepts to yourself (or aloud, if appropriate)
- take notes, if appropriate
- identify patterns and use them to organize what the speaker is saying
Evaluating: judging messages you hear. This stage can be made more effective if you:
- resist evaluation until you fully understand the speaker’s points
- assume the speaker is a person of goodwill
- distinguish facts from inferences, opinions and personal interpretations
- identify any biases, self-interest, or prejudices that may influence the speaker’s messages
Responding: responding occurs in two phases: responses while the speaker is talking
(backchanneling cues to let the speaker know you are paying attention, e.g., “uh-huh,” “I
see”) and responses after the speaker has stopped. This stage can be made more effective if
- express support for the speaker by using varied backchanneling cues
- express support for the speaker in your final responses
- take ownership of responses by using “I” messages
III. Styles of Effective Listening
Listening is situational and the art of effective listening is largely determined by making
appropriate choices along the following four dimensions:
• Empathic and Objective Listening
- empathic listening – listeners show empathy in two ways: by expressing understanding
of what another as said (thinking empathy) and by attempting to feel what the other
person feels (feeling empathy)
- objective listening - when you measure what you hear by some objective reality; when
you detach from the interests of the other person when you listen
- recommendations for adjusting empathic and objective listening focus
-- punctuate from the speaker’s point of view
-- engage in equal, two-way conversation
-- seek to understand both thoughts and feelings
-- avoid “defensive listening” that will enable you to attack the speaker
-- strive to be objective when listening to friends and foes alike
• Nonjudgmental and Critical Listening
- nonjudgmental listening - listening for understanding
with an open mind; expressing support and encouragement
- critical listening - listening with a view towards making some
kind of evaluation (or judgment) and to identify biases
- recommendations for adjusting nonjudgmental–critical listening focus
-- keep an open mind; avoid prejudging
-- avoid filtering out or oversimplifying complex messages
-- recognize our own biases
-- avoid uncritical listening when you need to make evaluations
-- recognize and combat the normal tendency to sharpen (highlight, emphasize, or
embellish one or two aspects of a message)
• Surface and Depth Listening
- surface-level listening - listening to literal or surface meaning of what you hear
- depth-level listening - listening to the deeper or hidden meaning
of what you hear
- recommendations for adjusting surface and deep listening focus
-- focus on both verbal and nonverbal messages
-- listen for both content and relational messages
-- make a special note of statements that refer back to the speaker
-- don’t disregard the literal meaning of interpersonal messages
 Active Listening and Inactive Listening
Active listening is usually preferable to inactive listening. It is the process of sending back to
the speaker what you think the speaker meant – both in content and feelings – and putting
together into some meaningful whole your understanding of the speaker’s total message. It
is essential to honest and effective communication and includes:
- paraphrasing the speaker's meaning without leading the speaker in the direction you
think she or he should go
- expressing understanding of the speaker's feelings
- asking questions to stimulate the speaker’s thoughts and support his or her feelings
IV. Listening Differences: Culture and Gender
Listening is a difficult process because no two communicators have the same frame of reference.
Effective listening may be exacerbated by cultural or gender differences that influence language
and speech, nonverbal behavior, and feedback.

Language and Speech – no two speakers speak exactly the same language. Effective
listening requires being aware of the different meanings speakers may have for the same
words. This is especially true when speakers are using languages learned as second
Nonverbal Behaviors – listening requires attention to both what is said and nonverbal
cues. Effective listeners also consider how different cultures may give different meanings to
the same nonverbal cues.
Feedback – effective listeners attend to feedback with full recognition that various cultures
view feedback differently
Listening and Gender – some research suggests that women and men generally exhibit
different listening behaviors; women may be socialized to show more empathy and rapport
by providing more listening cues; men may be socialized to be dominant communicators, to
exhibit less listening cues and interrupt or change topics more
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