Essay: Improving Listening Skills

Sample Essay

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This is an essay excerpt on listening skills. The second form of listening is passive or attentive listening, which occurs when one is genuinely interested in the speaker’s point of view, yet the listener does not verify what they have heard and instead assumes they have heard and understood correctly (Nadig, Par. 5).

The second form of listening is passive or attentive listening, which occurs when one is genuinely interested in the speaker’s point of view, yet the listener does not verify what they have heard and instead assumes they have heard and understood correctly (Nadig, Par. 5).  The final form of listening is active or reflective listening, which is the skill that people need most to improve their relationships (either at work, school, or home).  In active listening, one is paying attention to the speaker also while verifying what has been said before responding, either by jotting down questions to ask or evaluating what has been said in context:

We restate or paraphrase our understanding of their message and reflect it back to the sender for verification. This verification or feedback process is what distinguishes active listening and makes it effective.  (Nadig, Par. 6)

Listening is a difficult skill because people (and cultures) communicate differently not to mention how well the speaker makes themselves understood:

We all act and respond on the basis of our understanding, and too often there is a misunderstanding that neither of us is aware of. With active listening, if a misunderstanding has occurred, it will be known immediately, and the communication can be clarified before any further misunderstanding occurs.  (Nadig, Par. 11)

However, the importance of being able to effectively listen will not only benefit the listener, but the speaker as well:

Whether you are an executive, manager or line employee, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to improve your listening skills. People who listen effectively are perceived as more helpful, more “in tune” and tend to exert more influence over others than those that are less effective listeners. Paradoxically, good listeners are listened to more than poor listeners.  (Bacal, Par. 1)

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