Effective Listening

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Abstract

Active listening includes a variety of behaviors which communicate to the other that they are heard and understood, that the feelings which underlie the words are appreciated and accepted, and that regardless of what the individual says, thinks or feels, they are accepted as a person by the listener. Active listening demands that the receiver of the message put aside the belief that listening is easy and that it happens naturally and realize that effective listening is hard work. Good listening encourages the speaker, promotes trust and respect, improves relationships, and makes resolution of problems more likely. Good listeners are prepared to listen, show interest, keep an open mind, listen critically, resist distractions, make notes, ask questions, and summarize what was being said.

One of the most important people skill is effective listening. Listening is hard work; it is active not passive. Effective communication begins with learning to listen before speaking. Listening is difficult because people don't work as hard at it as they should. Active listening includes a variety of behaviors which communicate to the other that they are heard and understood, that the feelings which underlie the words are appreciated and accepted, and that regardless of what the individual says, thinks or feels, they are accepted as a person by the listener. Listening is often a neglectful skill. There are several important steps to remember when trying to achieve effective listening. Many positive outcomes result from effective listening. Effective Listening is key to good communication.

Listening is often a neglected skill. "...failure to devote time to listening will communicate an attitude of conceit and a closed mind."(Gladson 1990). Most people believe that listening is natural and doesn't require hard work and practice. "Listening deserves to be taken more seriously for several important reasons: (1) As a major information acquisition system, good...
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