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Communication Notes

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Communication Notes
What is Communication?
Communication is derived from a Latin word Communis meaning common or shared. It belongs to a group of words that include; - Communion
- Communism
- Community
Until you have shared information with another person, you have not communicated it. Communication is about sharing of information.
Communication occurs when we share information and it is understood by the other person(s) the way you have understood it.
Communication therefore is:

1) The process of creating a shared understanding (Barker 2000).
2) It is the negotiation of shared meaning (Payne 1998).
3) According to Adler and Rodman (2000) communication is the process of human beings responding to the symbolic behavior of other persons.
The Sender initiates the communication. He or she has a need or desire to convey an idea, feeling, thought, concept, view etc . The receiver is the individual to whom the message is sent. The sender encodes the idea by selecting words, symbols, gestures etc with which to compose the message. The message is the outcome of the encoding which could be verbal, nonverbal, or written. The message is sent through a medium which is a carrier of the message or communication. It can be face-to-face, TV, email etc. The receiver decodes the received message into meaningful information. Feedback occurs when the receiver responds to the sender’s message and returns the message to the sender. Feedback allows the sender to determine whether the message has been received and understood. Noise or barriers occur at any level of the communication process.



Communication is a continuous ongoing process, for example, if your classmates
Tells you,” You are Smart”. The interpretation of those words will depend on a long series of experiences stretching back in time. Such questions will cross your mind;
1) Has anyone judged my appearance today?
2) Am I really smart?
3) How is my relationship with the person commenting on my appearance?
All these questions will help shape your response, in turn the words you speak and how you speak them will shape the way your classmate will behave towards you in this situation and in future.
Communication is like a motion picture in which the meaning comes from the unfolding of an inter-related series of images, there are five aspects of the communication process:
(1) The Communicator who is also called the Sender, Source, Encoder, originator. The sender has an idea to share with someone.He initiates the communication with the aim of conveying thoughts, ideas feelings or wishes.
-Originates/initiates the message
-Encodes ideas into the message
-Sends the message
-Chooses the channel
-Receives the feedback
Encoding is the process by which the sender converts an idea into a message by using verbal and non-verbal mediums of communication. They can be words, signs, signals, symbols
(2) Message which is also the content-it can be in form of- Symbols - Words - Pictures - Signs
This is the thought or feeling that the sender encodes to the receiver. It is the content of communication which may be verbal, non-verbal, written etc
-bears the sender’s ideas and thoughts
- Determines the channel to be used
-Acts as a Link between the sender and audience
-Stimulates the sender to communicate
4.Channel which is also called the medium
It is the vehicle that carries the message to the receiver. - Mass Media e.g Telephone, TV, radio - Speaker -Written (Letter, books etc) - Internet
-Relays the message from sender to audience
-Acts as a link between the sender and audience
-Carries the feedback from the audience to the sender
-It completes the communication process by carrying a feedback from the audience to sender
5) The audience who is also the recipient, decoder, listeners, they include - A congregation -Readers - Viewers - Surfers etc
- Receives the message
-Decodes the message
-Sends a feedback
-Chooses the channel to send a feedback
-Completes the communication process by sending a feedback
Decoding is the process of translating words, signs, symbols into meaning. He has to go through the entire process of filtering before successfully decoding the message. Successful decoding of the message is the correct understanding of the message as the sender would have wanted it received. This is not easy as no two human beings are the same. There are too many barriers too.
5) The feedback-also called response
-Bears the thoughts, ideas and feelings of the audience
-Acts as a link between audience and sender
-Determines the channel to be used
-Sometimes it completes the communication process
-It enables the sender to know if the message has been understood or not
-It measures the effectiveness of the communication
The Communicator encodes ideas and feelings into a message and conveys them by a means of a channel which can be (Speech, Signs, Mass Media) etc into a receiver who decodes the message. The communicator should therefore understand the social importance of his/her role and what he/she wants to communicate. He should understand the characteristics of the channels he is using, his audience and hold his message to the style requirements of each channel he uses and the capabilities of his audience.
-Key to success in a person’s work and social interactions
- helps one to share ideas and experiences, find out about things that interest him and express oneself
- helps one to develop verbal and nonverbal skills which are essential in expression of feelings and insights.
- helps one to be known to others, build friendships and create other types of satisfying relationships
- Helps us to influence and persuade others to think, do or like what we do in our own way. BARRIERS / LIMITATIONS OF COMMUNICATION
These are limitations, shortcomings of communication in the communication process In the communication process there is a limitation called noise; noise means any force that interferes with effective Communication. They can also be defined as distractions or barriers between the source to the audience. Noise can occur at any stage of Communication.
Communication is most effective when it moves speedily and smoothly in an uninterrupted flow. However frequently communication does not flow uninterrupted because there are barriers or noises. Breakdown of communication is costly to an organization and in the society in general, this is because it disrupts the functioning of the organization as well as cause frictions and misunderstanding among people.
AS mentioned earlier, if information is transferred from the mind of the sender to the mind of the receiver unchanged, we say that a perfect act of communication has taken place. However quite often miscommunication occurs therefore perfect communication does not really exist. Types of noise / barriers
1) Physical or external barriers.
2) Physiological.
3) Psychological.
4) Semantic (Connotative).
5) Stored experience.

1)Physical or External Barriers This includes those factors outside the receiver and the communicator that makes it difficult to communicate effectively. They are often due to the nature of the environment. They include; -poor outdated equipment -old technology - noise from moving vehicles - loud music - Noise from construction sites - Echoes - Singing birds - Extreme temperatures (too hot or cold) - Uncomfortable seats - Poor Network (phone) - Poor reception (TV or Radio) - Low network (for internet) etc
- Time and distance
2)Physiological Barriers They involve biological factors in the receiver or communicator that interfere with accurate reception of information. They include; - Sickness or illness - Poor hearing - Poor sight -personal problems
3) Psychological/ psycho sociological barriers. Refers to forces within the receiver or communicator that interfere with the ability to express or understand a message accurately. Mental issues include; - Superiority complex - Inferiority complex - Ego related factors - personal problems - attitudes and opinions ( if information agrees with our opinions and attitudes we tend to receive it favorably if its contrary are likely to reject) - Emotions - Closed mind, inattentiveness, status- consciousness
- Field of experience/stored experience
These are people backgrounds, perceptions, values, biases, needs and expectations. Senders encode and receivers decode messages only in the context of their field of experience. Barriers occur if the sender’s field of experience overlap the receiver’s even to a small extent.
This occurs when the receiver interprets the message in terms of his frame of reference. Each person has stored experience consisting in part of his individual ego related beliefs and values in part of the beliefs and values of groups to which he belongs. These groups could be;
- Family
- Job
- Peer group
- Church etc. A message which challenges these beliefs and values may be rejected, distorted or misrepresented.
- Filtering: More often we hear and see what we are emotionally tuned in to see and hear. Our own needs guide our listening.
-Psychological distance
4)Semantic/Connotative barriers.
There are two types of meanings for words:
(1) Denotative meaning which is the dictionary meaning for a word. Every word has denotative meaning
(2) Connotative meaning is associated with stereotypes and cultural settings. - Connotative meaning arouses qualitative judgments and personal reactions which could be favourable or unfavourable. Example; The words noble, honest, cowardly could elicit favourable or unfavourable reactions. Denotative meaning is the literal dictionary or actual meaning of the word. It informs and names objects without any positive or negative qualities. Semantic noise occurs when a message is misunderstood even though it is received exactly as it was transmitted. The communicator may use words that are too unfamiliar for a member or members of the audience to understand or he or she may use words that have one meaning for him (Communicator) and another meaning for the listeners, the speaker or writer (source) may use words that have connotative meaning or ambiguous words.
- When the sender and the communicator understand two different languages
- When the sender uses ambiguous words
- When the sender uses words with connotative meaning
When the sender uses technical terms or jargon
When the sender uses unfamiliar words
When the sender uses a language that is far above the receiver’s level
When the sender does not adhere to the rules of language, poor language use, wrong use of tenses, pronunciation, punctuation, spelling etc
6. Credibility problems
This occurs when the sender is not considered a reliable source of information, he may not be trusted or he may not be perceived as knowledgeable about the subject at hand.
7. Different perception People perceive situations differently, e.g when students observe that the vice chancellor has not spent time in the office lately, some students may believe that he has been to several important meetings while others may think e is “hiding out” hence when they need to talk about some official capacity some will have positive impression while others will have a negative impression regarding him. COMMUNICATION SKILLS:
A skill is a special ability to do something well especially as gained by learning and practice. What is communication skills?
1) They are a set of skills that enables a person to convey information so that it is received and understood.
2) They are skills that are needed to use language (spoken, written, sign) or otherwise communicated to interact with others.
3) They are skills that enable people to communicate effectively with one another.
Communication skills are the ability to develop mutual understanding and cooperation which is necessary in the society. Communication skills therefore include;
a) The ability to speak in public
b) To make presentations
c) To write letters, reports etc
d) To chair meetings e.g. board, committee meetings.
e) To conduct negotiations etc.


1. Interpersonal communication

This involves interaction between two persons or a small group on a one-to –one basis. It is interaction with fewer people. It makes people open up and discuss matters to one another’s convenience.
Interpersonal communication is one form of communication that affects us directly and constantly. It forms the basis of our knowledge and makes close personal relationships and our knowledge of others. Any intimate relationships are interpersonal communication.
When we think of interpersonal communication we think of face-to-face communication. However, it means a lot more. It involves talking to directly with others and using all verbal and non- verbal codes available to us.
With the increasing reliance on communication technology, more of our interpersonal communication occurs through other media than just voice and vision. It occurs through e.g. telephone, mail, email, fax, chat etc.
Face- to- face communication is personal while mediated (media) communication is impersonal.
2. Intra-personal communication- communication within ourselves. It’s personal.
Intrapersonal communication is the act of having an internal dialogue with yourself; or in other words, self-talk! Some examples of this include: "Asking yourself what you want for dinner tonight"; or "Asking yourself if you should have or shouldn't have done something?"
3. Group Communication
Group communication refers to communication between 3 or more individuals. Small group communication includes numbers from 3 to about 20 people, and large group communication includes numbers larger than that (i.e., a lecture hall of 300 students or a theatrical production with an audience of 3, 000, committee meetings, board meetings, study group discussions etc

4. Written and verbal communication

This is the communication where the message is contained in written form. It is appropriate where the message is detailed and contains illustrations. It is used in formal set ups. They include memos, circulars, notices, reports ad friendly letters.


1. It is often accurate because the sender can take time to collect and assimilate the information and can draft and revise it before sending.
2. It provides a permanent record of exchange.
3. Evidence of communication is available for future reference.
4. Chances of distortion of message are few since one can always refer back to the original source of the information.
5. The message is understood clearly since the receiver takes time to go through the information severally
6. It can be understood by the deaf and dumb.

1. It is more difficult and time consuming than oral communication
2. There is no immediate feedback
3. In some cases like notices adverts etc there are no room for feedback
4. It is limited only to the literates
5. It unsuitable for the blind

This is communication where the message is passed through words of mouth. It includes face-to face communication and communication through mediums like cell phones, landlines etc

1. There is immediate feedback
2. It is a faster means of communication
3. The communicator has the opportunity to explain the message clearly.
4. It is easy, all the sender needs to do is to talk
5. It can be done with little preparations
6. It is accessible to the illiterate
7. It can be accessed by those with eye defects.
1. No record of communication is kept for the future reference
2. The message is likely to be distorted when being passed to a third party
3. Since it’s a two-way discussion there is seldom time for a thoughtful considered response
4. It sidelines the numb and deaf

Corporate Communication
Communicates the mission and activities of the organization mostly to external audiences
Internal Communication It facilitates the flow of information within the organization, sometimes it’s part of corporate communication.
Advocacy Communication
It influences change at public or policy level and promote issues to with development.

Studying is a process that we use to read, understand apply, analyze, synthesize and decode information.
Reasons for study: pass exams, do research, do assignments, to gain knowledge, to get a good job, to get promoted etc
Our perception of how we study determines the way we approach our work and the benefits we are likely to derive out of it. Transition from secondary school to university is a very critical one, unlike secondary in the university, learning is more learner oriented, students are expected to do research, participate in discussions, tutorials etc
Preparing a personal study time table
This is a schedule showing various activities to be accomplished within a specific period. It is guided by personal goals, lecture hours, available time etc

Importance of a study time table
-saves time
-it gives a sense of orderliness
- keeps you focused
- helps you to be more efficient and effective

Characteristics of a good personal time table
-It should be: -Realistic and practical
- Flexible and adjustable
- Tasks should not overlap
- It should have breaks
- have time for leisure
-Have enough time for studies
- Should include all courses

Time for Study
-it’s not possible to prescribe best time for study since it’s different from one person to another. Whatever time, consider the following:
- Physical fitness
- eat and sleep well
- Take a break and relax
- Change activity in case of boredom

The profile of an efficient student
An efficient student must know his/her strengths and weakness so as to know what to concentrate on and what not to.
1) He/she must be conversant with the course outline.
2) He must budget his time appropriately but revise the time plan when need arises.
3) He should make sure that he attends all lectures, tutorials; practicals etc and write detailed notes for revision and preservation for the future.
4) He should file notes and handouts systematically and date them for appropriately for easy revision.
5) He should supplement lecture notes with notes from private study.
6) He should always revise notes and handouts and be conversant with concepts. He discuss with genuine colleagues in areas found particularly difficult.
7) He should seek assistance from lecturers when need arises.
8) He should complete assignment in time to avoid backlogs.
10) He should file his CATS for future reference.
11. In the course of the semester, he should anticipate end of semester exams and prepare in advance. EXAMINATIONS:
An exam is a way of measuring how much a student has learnt during a given period of time. Learners should show a change of behavior at the end of a learning process.
Importance of Exams
1. It helps to find out if the learners have understood the content
2. It is to grade the learners
3. It is a measurable way of finding out if the objectives of the course are achieved or not
4. It is used to judge the level of the learner’s achievements to predict the learner’s future performance and to monitor the learner’s progress
5. To determine the teaching effectiveness
At the Beginning of Semester
- understand the scope of the course by having the course outline
- understand the mode of evaluation or assessment of exams
- understand the general expectations of each course
- have a comprehensive reading list
- have a study time table
- have a lecture time table
During the Semester
-Attend all lectures
- Take good notes
-review your notes consistently
- Do all assignments in time
- Look at past papers
-Join a discussion group
Revising for exams,
The pressure of the exam stimulates you to draw together the strands of your study and acknowledge areas that need more work. As an exam approaches, it’s useful to make adequate preparations.
Organize your notes, the process of sorting out what is essential from what is interesting in a general way will encourage you to revise.
Reduce your notes to key headings and points.
Use past papers, -These are the best resource, Remember that each question in that paper links you to area of your course. You need to find that link and consider the areas the question leads you towards. d) Select what to revise. - If you will need to answer three exam questions, revise at least five topics. - Work out answers to a range of possible exam questions, for a topic so that you can be able to deal with almost all questions that will be set. - Select the most important theories, references and evidences from each topic. e. Draw up a timetable, workout exactly how much time to revise, including time to relax and time for emergencies.
- If all subjects carry equal marks, divide the time equally between all the subjects. - Assign more time to subjects that carry more marks. Preparing for Exams
Preparing for an exam can get you off to a good start. You can do the following:
Find out basic information, like how many exams you will do, when they will be done, they will be assessed and where to get past papers.
Find out the exam instructions.
Familiarize yourself with instructions written on exam papers. Instructions can be diff. to understand if you read them for the first time under the stress of the exams itself.
Plan your exam time in advance.
-for each paper, work out the time that you will start and finish each question for practice.
-Like most things, exam performance improves with practice.

-Arrange with a friend or yourself to practice an exam. You can do the following; ---Pick an old exam or make your own exam to practice
- Write the answers in the time assigned for the question.
-Work alone in silence and afterwards discuss with a friend 3. Preparing for exams a week before. 1) Know where and when the exam will be done. 11) Know when the exams will start and how long they will take. 111) Know what type of test or exam they will be. ie- essay - Multiple choices cloze test etc.
1v) Know how many questions are compulsory and how many are optionals.
4. Preparing for exams day to/Before exams.
-You need to recheck the time and venue and any last minute changes.
-Confirm whether you have student examination cards & any other documents required.
-Revise any top priority areas.
-Avoid learning new enough sleep.
-Promote relaxation activities.
5. During the exam day.
-Eat well before the exam
-Leave plenty of time to the journey to the exam venue
-Arrive early at the exam venue
-Avoid discussing exams last minute.
-Ensure you have all the exam documents and materials
-Have enough sleep

6. During the Exam
-check to confirm that you have the right question paper
-Read the instructions
- Write the Registration no. and other details needed

-At the end of the exam, check to make sure that you have answered the correct number of questions and all the compulsory questions.
-Ensure that all your answers are numbered appropriately.
-Ensure all your identification details appear on the cover page of each booklet; if you use papers staple them together.
-Check through your answers for punctuations, spelling, grammar etc EXAMS ANSWERING TECHNIQUE: P-Preview Q-Question R-Re-read S-Select T-Think.
-Look at the entire question paper
-Read the general instructions
-Choose the questions that you need to answer
-Note the questions to be answered in each section
-Note the compulsory questions
-Note the marks allocated to each question
-Reread the instructions given for each question to answer
-Pay attention to the verbs e.g. discuss, outline, explain, justify etc
-Select the sequence of answering the questions. Start with the easiest questions and move progressively to the difficult ones.
-Think on how to use the allocated time
-Allocate time proportionally according to marks allocated
Examination rubrics are the instructions given to the students by an examiner directing on how the questions should be answered. Some of the terms used are:
(a)Describe-the student is expected to give an account of something in written or spoken form.
(b)Outline/state-the student is expected to give a brief statement.
(c)Explain-the student is expected to give details concerning a point, give step by step account
(d)Elaborate-the student is expected to give additional information or to explain himself/herself further.
(e)Illustrate-the student is required to use a diagram, analogies or examples to make a point.
(f)List/name/highlight-the student is expected to give the main point.
(g) Discuss- Give information as well as go beyond mere description, argue and debate, give advantages and disadvantages e.g. discuss the strengths of the 8-4-4 system of education
(h) Evaluate- Describe one or more things, compare each of these things against criteria eg Evaluate the Success of the free primary education in Kenya
(i) Compare- show the similarities, uses such words as both, like while to contrast is to show the differences, use such words as unlike, while, however, although etc
Analyze- Separate and loosen the ideas and fact into separate bits to make them easier to understand e.g Analyze the following statement

The best way to prepare for an exam is to learn the materials that will be tested. It will be of great help when you master the different types of tests.There are many types of tests but we are going to consider only a few of them. The student is advised to research and come up with the other types not discussed.
This test item gives only two choices, true or false .An answer is true if the entire statement is true,if any part of the statement is false then it is false, for example :
1. Kibaki is the president of Kenya (true) (false)
2. Kalonzo musyoka is the vice president of East Africa (true) (false) Even though Kalonzo is a vice president, he is not the vice president of E.A so the statement is only partially true.
Matching Items
In this test, there are two groups of list of items. You must match each item from the first group with an item from the second group. It is advisable that you complete with the easy matches first that will leave you with fewer items that you will choose from. Example
Match the related words in group A to those in B

Cow curb
Dog kid
Cat puppy
Lion kitten
Goat calf
Multiple Choice
In this test item, a sentence must be answered or completed by picking the best or the most appropriate out of the choices given. Example
Which one is the largest slum in Kenya?
a. Mukuru kwa Njenga
b. Kibera
c. Mathare North
d. None of the above Standardized Test
These are tests done by students all over the country, district world, province etc e.g. KCSE,KCPE CASNEB. Designing a Study Location.
An ideal study location, should poses the following,
b) Good reading lights
c) Comfortable and attractive
d) The study resources (books, journals, etc) should be methodically classified and stored for easy retrieval.
e) It should have proper sitting support.
f) It should have sufficient heating. When designing a study location, you should have a checklist and consider the following;
1) Lighting.
2) Heating.
3) Away from noise.
4) Interruptions.
5) Chair and Desk.
1) Lighting. - The best light to study is the natural light (sun).Avoid positions that will make you study in your shadow, adjustable table lamps are recommended, because they illuminate the desk area while avoiding eye straining from the dazzling direct light.
1) Heating.
Maintain a temperature of about 22 -24c of room temperature. Over heating will make the brain sleepy while under heating will deter concentration
2) Noise.
- Ordinary mortals need a quiet and hushed silence in which to study seriously. Eliminate distracting noise by closing doors, windows using curtains or sound proof to make the place quite.
3) Interruptions.
- Arrange the study timetable in a way that you are guaranteed one or two hours of uninterrupted study.
4) Chair and Desk.
- The sitting support should be good for effective study. They should have the proper height that will not cause the muscles and shoulders to cramp or strain.
- Ensure the desk is large enough to accommodate several open books. NOTE –TAKING
This is the practice of recording information captured from a transient source, such as a lecture or a discussion in a meeting. A common feature of such notes is shorthand, which can allow large amount of information to be put on paper very quickly. Note taking is an important skill for university students.
To use note taking effectively, you need to understand that its primary value is not in the record you produce, it is in the process itself. The process of taking notes guided the memory codes you make. Note taking is a strategy for making information meaningful. It is therefore only effective to the extent that you paraphrase; organize a make sense of the information while taking notes.
System of Note-taking
This involves creating a graph with symbols or a table with rows and columns.
While notes can be written freely, many people structure their writing in an outline. A common system consists of headings that use roman numerals, letters of alphabet, Arabic numerals etc at different levels.
Ideas are written in a tree structure, with lines connecting them together. For instance mind maps are usually drawn from a central point, with the main goal or point at the centre of the page and then branching outward to identify all the ideas connected to the goal. Colors and small graphics and symbols are often used to help to visualize the information easily. It is commonly used for planning and writing essays.
Sentence method
Every new thought is written as a new line. Speed is the most desirable attribute of this method because there is limited time for think about the format of the sentence.
Guided Notes
Sometimes lecturers may provide handouts of guided notes, which provide a map of the lecture content with the key points or ideas missing. Students then fill in missing items as the lecture progresses. Guided notes may assist students in following lectures and identifying the most important ideas from the lecture. This format provides students with a framework, yet requires active listening.
Importance of Note Taking
- Taking notes develops a sense of listening, allowing the listener to recognize main ideas and to understand the organization of the material
- The student records important facts as well as the lecturer’s emphasis and perspectives.
-Lecture notes provide the clearest and best indication of what the student should encounter in the exam.
-Taking lecture notes in class keeps the student focused on the lecture, thus increasing concentration, retention and understanding
-It makes the student an active participant in the learning process rather than a passive listener or daydreamer
-Taking notes in class means, most significantly, that you are present in class, a most honorable action to take as serious student
-It helps the student to sort out important information by synthesizing and beginning the actual learning process, the student actually makes the material his own
-The notes taken will become a study aid, an external memory device, and an instrument to aid in review and recitation. It leads to long term learning. LISTENING SKILLS
Characteristics of Effective Listening
Concentration-Focusing your undivided attention on what is being communicated
Correlation-This is relating what you are listening to and what you already know
Interpretational-Getting the basic meaning or the message that is being communicated
Recording-Writing brief and comprehensive notes

Barriers to Effective Listening.
Listening just like other forms of communication is a communication process. The following are barriers to effective listening:
1) Internal dialogue.
2) Physical factors
3) Cultural differences.
4) Personal problems
5) Semantic/connotative meaning.
6) Biases.
1) Internal dialogue.
-Since listening begins in our minds people carry out internal dialogue in response to another’s words though without verbalizing.
-Paying attention to internal dialogue affects listening very much. It interferes with message processing. One can forget crucial things like names of people, new concepts etc that may have just been introduced for the first time.
2) Physical factors.
The ability to listen is affected by the physical environment they include; noisy places, extremely hot or cold, poorly lit rooms hard uncomfortable seats etc.
A quite well lit room with comfortable seats is more appropriate to avoid, listeners should try and ignore physical disruptions in order to get the massage.
3) Cultural differences.
-Communications patterns vary between cultures, non verbal cues e.g. eye contact, the head nodding, verbal encouragements, gestures etc differ from one culture to another.
-There can occur a breakdown of communications if the listeners misinterpret the non verbal cues of the speaker. To overcome this, the speaker should be aware of the culture of the listeners while the listeners should also understand the culture of the speaker. They should take the differences of their culture into account; knowledge about other people’s cultures will improve your cross –culture listening effectiveness.
4) Personal problems.
-Being preoccupied with problems can hinder one from paying attention to someone else message, thinking about an argument with a significant other or financial problems can easily distract someone from listening to what is being said, to avoid this, always pursue to recognize the situation and try to focus on what is being said rather than your problems
5) Semantic/connotative.
6) Bias.
Bias is an opinion formed without evidence usually about a person or a group of people, it is the same as same as prejudgment.
-Recognizing bias is an important step towards overcoming it, all people are biased but the degree differs, bias is based on inaccurate stereotypes and incomplete knowledge which can make one form hasty judgments, for example when a pilot is mentioned a male comes to people’s minds not female.
-Bias is a serious impediment, to overcome, listeners need to recognize its existence and mentally set it aside.
Causes of poor listening
1. Lack of concentration 2. Listening too hard 3. Jumping into a conclusion.
4. Focusing on delivery and personal appearance.
1) Lack of concentration.
The brain is incredibly efficient since individual talks at a rate of 120-150 words per minute while the brain is able to process 400-500 words per minute. People normally take in the speakers words but still have plenty of spare brain time ( the difference between the rate at which people talk and the rate at which the brain can process language) People tend to pay attention to physical / distractions thus letting their thoughts wander rather than concentrating on what is being said, they may talk to their friends think about personal problems, look at the building roof etc.
2) Listening too hard
-Sometimes listeners listen too hard by turning into human sponges soaking up every speaker’s words as though every word spoken is important. They try to remember every minute detail e.g. all names, places, examples etc. In so doing one can misinterpret the speaker’s key points by submerging into a morass of details.
Facts may be confused at the end; in the worst circumstances in a speech one can easily pick up the details and miss the main points. It’s impossible to remember everything said in a speech, therefore effective listeners should concentrate on only key points.
3) Jumping into a conclusion. -This entails putting words into the speaker’s month; this is one reason why people communicate so poorly even to close people. This is as a result of being sure of what the speaker means without listening carefully, another way of jumping into conclusion is a prematurely rejecting the speaker’s ideas as being boring or misguided, this happens when individuals decide early that the speaker has nothing important to say.
4) Focusing on delivering & personal appearance. -This is a common problem whereby we tend to judge people by their looks, how they dress, groom e.t.c and the way they speak and fail to listen to what they say. People are put off by personal appearance, regional accents, the way people speak affect the listeners, for example unusual vocal mannerism like stammering, shouting e.t.c they may concentrate so much that they may not be bothered to listen to. TECHNIQUES TO IMPROVE LISTENING.
1. Setting goals.
1) Block out distracting stimuli.
2) Suspend judgments
3) Focus on main points.
4) Recognize highlights & signposts.
5) Note taking.
6) Be sensitive to meta- communication.
7) Paraphrasing.
8) Questioning.
1)Setting goals.
Set up a goal to achieve as a consequence of listening, your goal will guide your behaviour as you listen. If you fail to set up a goal at the beginning of a listening process,you may focus on what is peripheral rather than what is central to the purpose.
2)Block out distracting stimuli. Clear your mind off distracting stimuli, shut out distracting thoughts, you achieve this by relaxing, A relaxed mind is a receptive mind, promote healthy relaxation prior to listening or before listening.
3)Suspend Judgments. Avoids bias e.g. racial, tribal physical bias etc. You cannot listen when you prematurely judge the communicator or his or her message you may hear but not listen when you judge to avoid judgment
• Recognise that you and everyone else brings subjective experience to the communication process.
• Don’t judge a book by its cover.
• Try to separate the message from the communication.
4)Focus on main points. Listen and concentrate on the main points, don’t be indiscriminate by listening and writing down everything, you may risk missing the central points.
• Recognise highlights and signposts. For example
The most important (highlight) thing to know is to fear God. Secondly (sign post) love your neighbour, equally important (highlight) respect God, Also (signpost) respect your neighbours. 5) Note taking. -Take down notes when listening to the speaker.
6)Be sensitive to meta-communication. (Non-verbal communication). This is the message within the message, it’s the non-verbal communication, they include gestures, facial expressions, eyes, posture, and movements etc, one should be keen to observe them.
This involves listening to someone and putting it in your own words.
Confirm that the message has been received accurately then paraphrase i.e. repeat what has been said but in your own words. Paraphrasing is usually done in fewer words than the original message. Paraphrasing should confirm understanding and should be non-evaluating (non judgmental)
It is aimed at finding out if you correctly understood the message but instead of repeating in your own words what you think you have heard you ask questions, you can write down the questions.Pay attention to non-verbal behaviour, it will help you know when to appropriately interrupt, don’t interrupt the communicator when it’s not appropriate. TIPS ON THE BODY LANGUAGE OF AN ACTIVE LISTENER.
1) An attentive face.
2) A closed mouth and direct eye contact.
3) A comfortable sitting position on the chair, one who doesn’t look clumsy or sitting on the edge of the chair.
4) No distracting body gestures like taping of foot, drumming of fingers covering of mouth and talking to the person sitted next to him or her.
5) Occasional head nods in appreciation of what is being said.
6) Applauding whenever the speaker gives strong points.

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