Effective Listening

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When a person communicates what they think, want, and feel do you know what they mean? Are you being an effective listener to the person that is expressing their thoughts to you? Being an effective listener requires more than just hearing the words that are coming out of the speaker's mouth. Hearing is mechanical and requires minimal effort or skill. Listening is a skill that requires practice and concentration to avoid the barriers that are working against it (Hynes, 2005). Effective communication exists when the receiver interprets and understands the sender's message in the same way the sender intended for it to be.

According to Larry Nadig, Ph.D. (1999), there are three basic modes of listening. There is competitive listening, attentive listening, and active listening. With competitive listening, the listener is more interested in his or her own point of view than that of the speaker's. With competitive listening, the listener is pretending to pay attention to the speaker when he or she is actually looking for an opening to take over the speaking and promote his or her own views. Attentive listening occurs

when the listener is genuinely interested in hearing and understanding the speaker's is saying. With attentive listening, the listener assumes that what he or she heard was correct and factual from the speaker but does not verify it. Active listening is the most important form of listening and can prove to be the most useful. In active listening, the listener is genuinely interested in what the speaker is saying but is also actively making sure they understand it so they can respond back to it. With active listening, the listener responds by restating their understanding of the message to the speaker for verification. The verification is what makes active listening useful and effective. With active listening, the listener is looking for the message not simply hearing the words are being spoken. By being an active listener, the...
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