Listening and Evaluating

Most people think of themselves as good listeners, but in this multi-tasking, technology-laden modern world, many of us are simply good actors. We engage in pseudo-listening, the fine art of maintaining eye contact, nodding with interest, all while taking a “mind vacation” and thinking about something or someone else! Becoming a more adept listener can benefit us in the classroom, in the public speaking environment, in our personal relationships, and in our careers. Studies repeatedly list listening in the top skills employers are looking for. It’s important to work on our listening skills because it is the communication activity we perform the most. According to research cited by the International Listening Association, approximately half of all human activities involve listening and 45% of the time we spend communicating is spent listening. Listening is also important to you as a speaker. Most of your speech topic ideas will probably come from things you have heard – on the television, in the news, or from discussions with friends and family. As you can see, improving our listening skills has benefits in many facets of life.

Key Terms

Appreciative Listening
Empathetic Listening
Comprehensive Listening
Critical Listening
Active Listening