Listening: An Essential Part Of Communication Skills

2979 words - 12 pages

Listening: An Essential Part of Communication Skills

I. Introduction:
Communication comes from the Latin word communis, meaning commonness. It is a process wherein knowledge, ideas, information, attitudes, and feelings are transmitted (Padilla et al, 2003 p. 3).
Communication is a two-way process by which information is changed between or among individuals through a common system of symbols, sign and behaviour (Martinez, p1). It is an essential function of civilization. Basically it consists of writing, reading, speaking and listening.
Listening is a skill that has to be practiced and learned. Among the four skills of communication, listening is the most ignored, yet it takes up ...view middle of the document...

This is lamentable considering that we spend most of our working hours communicating, the greatest portion of which is listening. It is in some ways, more complicated than reading. You cannot re-listen as you can reread. The place is set for you. The listener must be determined and word meaning must be perceived immediately (Deighton 1971, p. 43).
2. Importance of listening.
Norma D. Martinez( 2001, p. 15) discusses that to effect successful interaction and to share equal responsibility in achieving effective communication, you as the receiver of the message must realise how important listening is. Whatever purpose you have – say, you listen to follow directions, to obtain knowledge, to arrive at decisions, to evaluate information or to show appreciation; you must understand that listening plays a very important role to effect purposeful interaction.
Rafael H. Diaz, (2005, P. 28) states that in school you do a lot of listening, but how good a listener are you? If you expect to go through college to earn a degree and be a successful professional someday, much of this skill will be required of you. Learning to cultivate this skill is therefore a must for you. This shows how vital the listening skill is. In today’s world, which is fast turning into a global village and where communication is highly developed, the demand to sharpen our listening power is high.
3. The Act of Listening.
The act of listening involves four distinct processes: receiving, perceiving, interpreting, and responding (Bradley, 1991, pp. 41-43).
1. Receiving. The first listening process consists of two aspects: seeing and hearing. Seeing is important to listening because it enables us to observe the non-verbal forms of communication such as facial expression, gestures, and bodily movement. It is also important in recognizing sounds and words. Effective receiving involves good eyesight. This is physiological in nature because the brain interprets any given stimuli received by the sense of sight. It also involves hearing. If the person is deaf, listening is prevented because hearing cannot occur.
2. Perceiving. It is not enough to hear sounds in the environment; we must perceive them by focussing attention on the ones we want to listen to. The essence of paying attention comes in. When you notice something and mentally pick it up, there is processing involved.
3. Interpreting. Once we have received and perceived the visual and aural symbols, we then interpret them. Interpreting sounds is relative to the ability of the person listening. If the words are not familiar, there is difficulty in interpreting the meaning of speech. If it is a language we know, we try to determine the intended meaning. We must interpret not only the language, but also the meaning of the non-verbal communication.
4. Responding. A person responding to the speech communication exhibits listening by an organized set of movements. These responses cause speakers to be affected by...

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