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Several Misconceptions About Listening English Language Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 1544 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Bear in mind that listening is rarely confined merely to words. Sometimes what you are listening to will include other sounds or intonation or verbal/emotional noises. Various people have constructed listening models. Below is an attempt to encompass and extend good current theory in an accessible and concise way. Sometimes listening involves noticing a silence or a pause-nothing-‘dead air’ as it’s known in broadcasting. You might instead be listening to a musical performance, or an engine noise or a crowded meeting, for the purpose of assessing what is actually happening or being said. Also, listening in its fullest sense, as you will see below, ultimately includes many known verbal and non-audible factors, such as body language facial expressions, reaction of others, cultural elements, and the reaction of the speaker on the listeners to each other.

There are many different types of listening.

Attentive listening- personally-driven fact gathering and analyzing often and manipulation of the other person.

Empathic listening understanding and checking facts and feelings, usually to listener’s personal agenda.

Passive/not listening-noise in background-ignoring

Biased/projective listening- `selective listening` and intentionally disregarding/dismissing the other persons views.

Misunderstood listening- unconsciously over laying your own interpretations and making things fit when they don’t.

Active listening- understanding feelings and gathering facts for largely selfish purposes.

Pretend listening-also called ‘responsive listening’-using stock nods and smiles and uhum, yes, off course, etc.

Facilitative listening-listening, understanding fully, and helping with the other persons needs upper most.

Passive listening is also listening without reacting.

Passive listening is defined as the physical presence but mental absence of the listener. When we hear ones speech rather indifferently, it is passive listening. In passive listening there is no invasion of the thought process which could probably change the trend of thinking or strengthened the preconceived idea of the receiver. This listening makes a poor impression on the speaker. It may also be defined as listening without reacting:

-not doing anything else at the same time.

-allowing someone to speak without interrupting

As opined by Richard Powell (2003) passive listening is when you focus in what you are listening to, but aren’t not doing anything apart from listening. Thus it is much more active and requires time of a different quality than background listening. You might listen passively because you are unable to be more active (see the examples below) or because you don’t want to for some reason:

-reviewing the audio material to your text book while driving

-listening to podcast while judging

-tuning into a radio station while playing mindless game

In addition, they tend to interrupt things to coincide with the views that they already have. For this reason, they assume they know and understand what other people are saying, because they assume it corresponds to their own expectations about what the person is likely to say or “should” be saying. Since people in conflict tend to develop hostile and distrustful images of the other, their interactions of things the other side says or those are always likely to be hostile and distrustful. Ambiguous messages are interrupted in the worst possible way; even clear messages tend to be ignored or disregarded, if they are inconsistent with one`s original negative view. Many people are poor listeners, even in everyday life. They tend to listen and think about something else at the same time. This happens even more frequently when people are in conflict. Rather than careful attending to what the other person gas said, many people think about their response while the other person is talking.

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Passive listening, to me is like a noise in the background-you are not concentrating on the sounds at all and nothing is registering with you. Ignoring will be another way to describe this type of listening. There is nothing wrong with passive listening if it’s truly not important, but passive listening-which we might more aptly call not listening-is obviously daft and can be downright dangerous if the communication is important. Passive listening is that in which there is little or no self perception or personal involvement on the part of the listener. it is also described as the type of listening in which many people engage. “Baker (1971)”.

Passive listening also affects people life`s, in their homes or even in their work places, depending on your relationship to the people you are interacting with, this type of problem usually comes when one of your family member or your colleague at work do not listen.

A passive listener provides little to no non-verbal feedback engaged in what is being said. The message that the speaker receives is that the listener is hearing them, but is not truly interested. Although a passive listener will usually remain still while the speaker talks, they will not make eye contact, nod or use empathetic facial expressions.

When someone is listening passively, they may appear to be much focused and attentive on what the speaker is saying, but their mind is elsewhere.

Buriers to Active listening

Listening barriers maybe psychological-(e.g. emotions) or (e.g. noise and visual distraction). Cultural differences including speakers` accent, vocabulary and misunderstandings due to cultural assumptions often obstruct the listening process.

All elements of communication, including listening, maybe affected by barriers that can impede the flow of conversation. Such barriers include distraction, trigger words, vocabulary, unlimited attention span. Frequently, the listener` personal interpretations, attitudes, biases and prejudices lead to ineffective communication.

Consequences of passive listening

The shocking truth is that passive listening is never going to get you to mystery. What’s even worst is that it wont even help your ability to understand.

It may lead to lack of affirmation and feeling of insecurity. Mostly people do not listen-they just take turns to speak-we all tend to be more interested in announcing our own views and experiences than really listening and understanding others. This is ironic since we all like to be listened to and understood. Covey says rightly that when we are understood we feel affirmed and validated. He coined the expressions: `seek first to understand, and then to be understood`, which serves as a constant reminder for the need to listen to the other person before you can expect them to listen to you

Passive listening may affect an individual’s home life too. Many couples and families have trouble communicating and the cause is often one or more family members who do not listen.

Such poor listening makes good communication almost impossible. No matter how much care one person or group takes to communicate their concerns, values, interests or needs in a fair, clear, if the listener is not willing to conceive that information in that way, the communication will fail.

With passive listening, clarity of understanding goes. We misunderstand and misinterpreted. It leads to confusion.

Impassive listening, we are much like a tape recorder. We absorb the information and do not get the inside of the speaker so that we can understand the communication from his/her own point of view.

The Guidelines for listening well

When the person is speaking:

-don’t think about your own ideas so that you end up not listening or forgetting what the person has said.

-focus completely on what the person is saying. Don’t do any other activity or think about any other topic.

-Mentally note the main points they are making, ready for summarizing.

– don’t ask questions (questions are a push or pull, not active listening)

-listen not only to the words that are said, but also the tune of voice and body language e.g.: if they are nervous, excited and depressed.

-if any relevant point occur to you, don’t say them immediately-keep them on a separate mental list of your own ideas, for use at an appropriate point.

-don’t interrupt.


Of all the communication skills. Effective listening skill is most often used to improve personal relationships, reduce misunderstanding and conflicts, I would also say listening is very important, because it seriously makes a difference in the way we understand things, the more we listen and understand the better we are familiar with the situation. when we have better listening skills we tend to communicate better, pass understanding information across, it also improves our relationship to the people we are communicating with. Strengthen cooperation and faster understanding. It is proactive, accountable and professional.


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