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Listening Skills-Types, Purpose,  Steps to Effective Listening, Barriers to Effective Listening and Ways to overcome the Barriers Notes-CSEET

Listening Skills-Types, Purpose,  Steps to Effective Listening, Barriers to Effective Listening and Ways to overcome the Barriers Notes-CSEET


According to Oxford Living Dictionaries, to listen simply means giving attention to sound or action. In fact, effective listening is the process of analysing sounds in a language, organizing them into recognizable patterns, interpreting the patterns and understanding the message by inferring the meaning. Listening is the “receiving” part of communication. And listening is all about receiving information through both our ears and eyes! It is an active, integrated communication skill that demands energy and know-how. It is purposeful, powerful and productive. It is a technique used for understanding, what is being said by taking into account how something is said and the nonverbal signs and body language that accompanies it. This technique requires a lot of practice and patience as listening is not easy. Good listening skill is the foundation of effective human relations. It is of paramount importance to both to the managers and workers. It is to be inculcated by both of them. Communication is not complete without effective listening. Good listeners can be good negotiators and thus can face or handle crisis or critical situations. It comes first in human life. Unfortunately still it is rarely taught in the classroom.

Outline Profile of Four Basic Communication Skills

Listening is not to be confused with hearing. Hearing is a physiological process which involves receiving the sound waves by the eardrum and transferring them to the brain. It is an involuntary act that happens automatically. Hearing refers to the sounds that enter your ears. It is a physical process that happens automatically. Listening, however, requires more than that. It requires focus and concentrated effort, both mental and sometimes physical as well. Listening is more than hearing. It involves the process of interpretation and inference. It is a voluntary activity and hence it is deliberate. Hence, listening means paying attention not only to the story, but how it is told, the use of language and voice, and how the other person uses his or her body. In other words, it means being aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages. Your ability to listen effectively depends on the degree to which you perceive and understand these messages.

Research shows that effective communication involves 50% more listening than speaking. So, it is more important to realize that listening is not just paying attention to the other person’s words but also to his tone, facial expressions, and body language. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages are easily misunderstood. As a result, communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated. In fact, the skill of listening is intimately related to the skill of speaking. Both are the natural keys to communication. To be an excellent communicator one needs to develop both the skills. Your competence in listening is directly proportional to that of speaking. In fact both the skills complement and supplement each other and their relationship is symbiotic resulting in a fine communication.

Listening is not a passive process. In fact, the listener can, and should, be at least as engaged in the process as the speaker. The phrase ‘active listening’ is used to describe this process of being fully involved. To be an effective listener, one has to be completely involved in the communication process, and fully present. Here ‘fully’, means physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically present or alive. A person may be mentally present but then emotionally disturbed by something else. A student may be physically present in the classroom but mentally absent. Probably the student has to go home for vacation and daydreams of the celebration that will take place at home. Similarly, when the teacher announces that she is going to ask questions to students by random selection, psychologically, a weak student will feel intimated.

The Purpose of Listening

Undoubtedly effective listening is an extremely important as it serves a number of possible purposes depending on the situation and the nature of the communication:

To specifically focus on the messages being communicated, avoiding distractions and preconceptions.
Purpose of listeningTo gain a full and accurate understanding into the speakers point of view and ideas.
To critically assess what is being said.
To observe the non-verbal signals accompanying what is being said to enhance understanding.
To show interest, concern and concentration.
To encourage the speaker to communicate fully, openly and honestly.
To develop a selflessness approach, putting the speaker first.
To arrive at a shared and agreed understanding and acceptance of both sides views.

Often our main concern while listening is to formulate ways to respond. This is not a function of listening. We should try to focus fully on what is being said and how it is being said in order to understand the speaker.

Listening and Hearing

Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process. Listening is the key to effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages are easily misunderstood. As a result, communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated.

Hearing refers to the sounds that enter your ears. It is a physical process that, provided you do not have any hearing problems, happens automatically. Listening, however, requires more than that. It requires focus and concentrated effort, both mental and sometimes physical as well.

Listening means paying attention not only to the story, but how it is told, the use of language and voice, and how the other person uses his or her body. In other words, it means being aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages. Your ability to listen effectively depends on the degree to which you perceive and understand these messages.

Listening is not a passive process. In fact, the listener can, and should, be at least as engaged in the process as the speaker. The phrase ‘active listening’ is used to describe this process of being fully involved.

Listening is different from hearing because hearing is basically a physical activity. You hear blaring horns and get exposed to noise pollution when you are in a traffic jam. However, listening is a mental activity that involves and uses the brain.

Types of Listening Skills

Following are the various types of listening:

Discriminative listening

Discriminative listening is the most basic type of listening, whereby the difference between difference sounds is identified. If you cannot hear differences, then you cannot make sense of the meaning that is expressed by such differences.

We learn to discriminate between sounds within our own language early, and later are unable to discriminate between the phonemes of other languages. This is one reason why a person from one country finds it difficult to speak another language perfectly, as they are unable distinguish the subtle sounds that are required in that language.

Likewise, a person who cannot hear the subtleties of emotional variation in another person’s voice will be less likely to be able to discern the emotions the other person is experiencing.

Listening is a visual as well as auditory act, as we communicate much through body language. We thus also need to be able to discriminate between muscle and skeletal movements that signify different meanings.

Comprehension listening

The next step beyond discriminating between different sound and sights is to make sense of them. To comprehend the meaning requires first having a lexicon of words at our fingertips and also all rules of grammar and syntax by which we can understand what others are saying.

The same is true, of course, for the visual components of communication, and an understanding of body language helps us understand what the other person is really meaning.

In communication, some words are more important and some less so, and comprehension often benefits from extraction of key facts and items from a long spiel.

Comprehension listening is also known as content listening, informative listening and full listening.

Critical listening

Critical listening is listening in order to evaluate and judge, forming opinion about what is being said. Judgment includes assessing strengths and weaknesses, agreement and approval.

This form of listening requires significant real-time cognitive effort as the listener analyzes what is being said, relating it to existing knowledge and rules, whilst simultaneously listening to the ongoing words from the speaker.

Biased listening

Biased listening happens when the person hears only what they want to hear, typically misinterpreting what the other person says based on the stereotypes and other biases that they have. Such biased listening is often very evaluative in nature.

Evaluative listening

In evaluative listening, or critical listening, we make judgments about what the other person is saying. We seek to assess the truth of what is being said. We also judge what they say against our values, assessing them as good or bad, worthy or unworthy.

Evaluative listening is particularly pertinent when the other person is trying to persuade us, perhaps to change our behavior and maybe even to change our beliefs. Within this, we also discriminate between subtleties of language and comprehend the inner meaning of what is said. Typically also we weigh up the pros and cons of an argument, determining whether it makes sense logically as well as whether it is helpful to us.

Evaluative listening is also called critical, judgmental or interpretive listening.

Appreciative listening

In appreciative listening, we seek certain information which will appreciate, for example that which helps meet our needs and goals. We use appreciative listening when we are listening to good music, poetry or maybe even the stirring words of a great leader.

Sympathetic listening

In sympathetic listening we care about the other person and show this concern in the way we pay close attention and express our sorrow for their ills and happiness at their joys.

Empathetic listening

When we listen empathetically, we go beyond sympathy to seek a truer understand how others are feeling. This requires excellent discrimination and close attention to the nuances of emotional signals. When we are being truly empathetic, we actually feel what they are feeling.

In order to get others to expose these deep parts of themselves to us, we also need to demonstrate our empathy in our demeanor towards them, asking sensitively and in a way that encourages self-disclosure.

Therapeutic listening

In therapeutic listening, the listener has a purpose of not only empathizing with the speaker but also to use this deep connection in order to help the speaker understand, change or develop in some way.

This not only happens when you go to see a therapist but also in many social situations, where friends and family seek to both diagnose problems from listening and also to help the speaker cure themselves, perhaps by some cathartic process. This also happens in work situations, where managers, trainers and coaches seek to help employees learn and develop.

Dialogic listening

The word ‘dialogue’ stems from the Greek words ‘dia’, meaning ‘through’ and ‘logos’ meaning ‘words’. Thus dialogic listening mean learning through conversation and an engaged interchange of ideas and information in which we actively seek to learn more about the person and how they think. Dialogic listening is sometimes known as ‘relational listening’.

Relationship listening

Sometimes the most important factor in listening is in order to develop or sustain a relationship. This is why lovers talk for hours and attend closely to what each other has to say when the same words from someone else would seem to be rather boring.

Relationship listening is also important in areas such as negotiation and sales, where it is helpful if the other person likes you and trusts you.

Selective Listening

This is a more negative type of listening, it implies that the listener is somehow biased to what they are hearing. Bias can be based on preconceived ideas or emotionally difficult communications. Selective listening is a sign of failing communication – you cannot hope to understand if you have filtered out some of the message and may reinforce or strengthen your bias for future communications.

Active and Effective Listening

Active listening occurs when the listener attempts to understand as clearly as possible what the speaker says. Effective listening is attempting to understand the perspective of the speaker and empathize, not sympathize, with him or her.

Active and effective listening are combined and subsumed under listening. Combining both makes good sense for one reason: a person cannot separate one from the other. To effectively listen, he must listen actively. To listen actively, he must listen effectively. Although both are distinct conceptually in their implementation it is virtually impossible to separate one from the other.

To be an effective listener, one has get completely involved in the communication process, and be fully present. When it is said fully, means physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically present. A person may be mentally present but then emotionally disturbed by something else. A student may be physically present in the classroom but mentally absent. Probably the student has to go home for vacation and daydreams of the celebration that will take place at home. Similarly, when the teacher announces that she is going to ask questions to students by random selection, psychologically, a weak student will feel intimated.

Types of Listeners

Listeners are of four types, namely, active listeners, passive listeners, non-listeners and evaluative listeners. The characteristic of these types of listener are as under:

Active Listeners

As the term implies, active listeners involve themselves actively in the communication process by keenly listening not only to the message but also to the way it has been delivered.

They focus on the content as well the manner in which it is delivered. This means that they will take note of the verbal content along with its nonverbal subtexts. They will not hesitate to seek clarifications, ask leading questions, show their approval by nodding head, and summarize to clearly indicate that they fully follow the speaker. In this way, the active listeners are quiet sensitive towards the feelings of others, they understand the mood of the audience. They show empathy and make the audience or the other person cared for. Once the audience get the feeling that they are being cared for, they will devote themselves fully to the communication process. Once there is mutual involvement, there will be hundred per cent success in terms of communication. The message sent will be received correctly and feedback is given in a favorable manner. So it leads to a win-win situation and causes effective communication. Contrarily, if the audience would sense that the speaker is insensitive towards their feelings, they would remain cold and distant.

Passive Listeners

Passive listeners exhibit exactly the opposite behavioristic traits of active listeners. They pay attention only to partial message and lack sensitivity to the nuances, inner meanings, nonverbal subtexts involved in communication. They allow someone to speak, without interrupting or seeking clarifications. They do not make notes, nod their head in approval, maintain eye contact and keep themselves idle. Passive “listening,” is actually hearing not listening! Since passive listeners keep their minds closed, communication with them is futile and incomplete.

Non Listeners

The non-listeners do not listen at all because they are genuinely disinterested in the subject. These people pretend to follow the speaker while they are actually preoccupied with something else. So, they will fake attention, but they could easily be recognized by their blank stare, impatient and nervousness mannerisms.

They might be suffering from rigidity of thinking and egotism. Their complete insensitivity and insensible nature makes them incapable of understanding others. In fact, they do not even make an effort to hear what the other person is saying.

You will find non- listeners among authority figures who will do most of the talking and will not let their sub-ordinates easily express their ideas. Although, they frequently interrupt by saying “I understand,” and “I know,” they actually do not know anything or understand the subject!

Marginal Listeners

Impatient to listen to the main ideas, marginal listeners pay superficial attention, and are interested only in the bottom line. They merely hear the sounds of words, but fail to grasp their meanings. They do not go to the deeper level in arguments. They use external distractions to excuse themselves from conversations. They will not have the patience to sit through complex technical presentations, and jump to findings and conclusions. It is risky to communicate with marginal listeners because they are not focused on the main ideas and often misunderstand their import.

Evaluative Listeners

Evaluative listeners literally assess the verbal content on the basis of words not paralinguistic or nonverbal cues. Generally, they use logic to understand the content, hence, they distance themselves emotionally from the subject. As a result, they do not show empathy or sensitivity to the speaker. They are mostly prejudiced and judgmental as they presume the meaning before actually the speaker completes a sentence.

Characteristics of Active Listener

An active listener is serious about the whole process of communication. He pays attention to the speaker’s stance, perspective, point of view, bias and prejudices. He is intensely involved in the interaction and expends maximum energy to have full comprehension of the subject matter through their eye contact, receptive body language, and appropriate facial expressions and nonverbal affirmations, they make the speakers feel delivering message to them a pleasing and pleasurable experience.

Nonetheless, there are some barriers which impede one’s efforts to become an active listener. Communication theorists list eight fundamental barriers to action listening.

Barriers to Active Listener

Inadequate Language Base

Sufficient language background is required to fully understand the speaker. Despite one’s best efforts to intensely participate in the communication process (a lecture delivered, for instance), inadequate language base will act as a deterrent. Weak language proficiency, lack of technical vocabulary, combined with fear and shyness, will hinder the progress of learning a new subject.

Partial Listening

Partial listening occurs when people happily indulge themselves in multitasking and allow themselves to be distracted easily. For instance, when talking over the phone during a conversation, many people are habituated to flip through a book, or surf through the internet due to which they fail to pay full attention to the speaker. Because the mind is involved in too many things, important details are missed in partial listening.


Lack of interest in the subject prevents one to pay complete attention. Students, for instance, may remember a pop song more easily than the name of an author. So, due to disinterestedness in the subject, during a conversation, the listener may focus on other interesting subjects.

Pre-Judging the Speaker/the Speech

The listeners form biased opinions by looking at the speaker’s look, dress and mannerism. The bias against the speaker can be formed due to one’s own gender and colour preferences. Even the status of the speaker, depending on whether it is high or low, can affect the logical thinking of the listener.

Negativity towards the Speaker

The major cause of poor listening is due to the listener’s emotional, mental and psychological mind­set. If there is any dislike for the speaker and disapproval to his/her ideas, the listener will certainly reconstruct distorted and negative message. When there is negativity, the listener shows animosity, undermines the speaker’s capabilities, and keeps disagreeing with the speaker’s viewpoints. The listener will even go to the extent of ridiculing, insulting, and humiliating the speaker in public.


Some listeners suffer from a defeatist attitude. Hence, underestimate their self-capabilities and decide in advance that they cannot understand what they are going to hear. Mostly, new students and participants in a conference suffer from this kind of self-diffidence and affect the listening process.


There are listeners who often become over enthusiastic and intolerant and start supplying gaps in the speaker’s ideas. This generally comes out of impatience from the listener’s side who finds the speaker slow to communicate his/her ideas. So the listener advances the questions and interferes quickly preventing the speaker to finish the talk on his/her own pace. In the process, the listener assumes the speaker’s flow of thoughts in advance and impedes his/her own mind from active listening.

Deep-Rooted Beliefs

Sometimes one tends to become close minded due to one’s own deep rooted beliefs and convictions. Socio- culturally embedded beliefs and convictions become so strong and firmly rooted in one’s minds and act as barriers to new thoughts and fresh ideas. For instance, if one has a deep rooted conviction on caste system based arranged marriage, then the person will not be able to openly listen to a talk on the benefits of inter-caste love marriage. Such deep-rooted beliefs lead to superficial listening and cause disagreement with the speaker’s stance and view point.

To become an effective listener, one should be attentive all the time and actively responsive. And should be conscious of and in complete control of preoccupations, and distractions. Students often get distractive for very small things especially in the class room. A passerby, or a chirping bird can easily make them lose their concentration. Moreover, as Robert Schuler says, “the mind is like a parachute, it functions only when it is open.” Only when the mind is open, it will able to receive ideas, receive concepts, assimilate them, interpret and critically think. To keep one’s mind open, one should train the mind to listen without any prejudice. What is prejudice? Prejudice is forming an opinion in one’s mind even before actually confronting the situation; it is being judgmental before verifying the facts. The following example clearly demonstrates how people tend to keep their mind closed and remain prejudiced most of the times.

Principles of Effective Listening

•      Stop Talking

•      Prepare Yourself to Listen

•      Put the Speaker at Ease

•      Remove Distractions

•      Empathetic

•      Be Patient

•      Avoid Personal Prejudice

•      Listen to the Tone

•      Listen for Ideas-Not Just Words

•      Wait and Watch for Non- Verbal Communications

  1. Stop Talking

Don’t talk, listen. If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear. When somebody else is talking listen to what they are saying, do not interrupt, talk over them or finish their sentences for them. Stop, just listen. When the other person has finished talking you may need to clarify to ensure you have received their message accurately.

  1. Prepare Yourself to Listen

Relax. Focus on the speaker. Put other things out of mind. The human mind is easily distracted by other thoughts – what’s for lunch, what time do I need to leave to catch my train, is it going to rain – try to put other thoughts out of mind and concentrate on the messages that are being communicated.

  1. Put the Speaker at Ease

Help the speaker to feel free to speak. Remember their needs and concerns. Nod or use other gestures or words to encourage them to continue. Maintain eye contact but don’t stare – show you are listening and understanding what is being said.

  1. Remove Distractions

Focus on what is being said. Don’t doodle, shuffle papers, look out the window, pick your fingernails or similar. Avoid unnecessary interruptions. These behaviours disrupt the listening process and send messages to the speaker that you are bored or distracted.

  1. Empathise

Try to understand the other person’s point of view. Look at issues from their perspective. Let go of preconceived ideas. By having an open mind we can more fully empathise with the speaker. If the speaker says something that you disagree with then wait and construct an argument to counter what is said but keep an open mind to the views and opinions of others.

  1. Be Patient

A pause, even a long pause, does not necessarily mean that the speaker has finished. Be patient and let the speaker continue in their own time, sometimes it takes time to formulate what to say and how to say it. Never interrupt or finish a sentence for someone.

  1. Avoid Personal Prejudice

Try to be impartial. Don’t become irritated and don’t let the person’s habits or mannerisms distract you from what the speaker is really saying.

Everybody has a different way of speaking – some people are for example more nervous or shy than others, some have regional accents or make excessive arm movements, some people like to pace whilst talking – others like to sit still. Focus on what is being said and try to ignore styles of delivery.

  1. Listen to the Tone

Volume and tone both add to what someone is saying. A good speaker will use both volume and tone to their advantage to keep an audience attentive; everybody will use pitch, tone and volume of voice in certain situations – let these help you to understand the emphasis of what is being said.

  1. Listen for Ideas – Not Just Words

You need to get the whole picture, not just isolated bits and pieces. Maybe one of the most difficult aspects of listening is the ability to link together pieces of information to reveal the ideas of others. With proper concentration, letting go of distractions, and focus this becomes easier.

  1. Wait and Watch for Non-Verbal Communication

Gestures, facial expressions, and eye-movements can all be important. We don’t just listen with our ears but also with our eyes – watch and pick up the additional information being transmitted via non-verbal communication.

Barriers to Effective Listening

Listening is the most important part of the communication process. However, listening skills do not come naturally to most people; they require willingness, practice, and patience to develop. There are many things that get in the way of listening and we should be aware of these barriers, many of which are bad habits, in order to become a more effective listener. There are many reasons individuals fail to listen successfully. These include:

  1. Preconceived ideas or bias – effective listening includes being open-minded to the ideas and opinions of others, this does not mean you have to agree but should listen and attempt to understand.
  2. Interrupting is a problem for many reasons. First, it is aggressive behavior and will most likely bring a negative response from the speaker being interrupted. Second, it is difficult to listen and speak at the same time. When the listener is interrupting, he or she is certainly not listening fully.
  3. Previous experiences – we are all influenced by previous experiences in life. We respond to people based on personal appearances, how initial introductions or welcomes were received and/or previous interpersonal encounters. If we stereotype a person we become less objective and therefore less likely to listen effectively.
  4. Preoccupation – when we have a lot on our minds we can fail to listen to what is being said as we’re too busy concentrating on what we’re thinking about. This is particularly true when we feel stressed or worried about issues.



Preconceived ideas or bias
Having a Closed Mind
Bringing in Emotions
Faking attention
Becoming emotional
To avoid jumping to Conclusions
  1. Having a Closed Mind – we all have ideals and values that we believe to be correct and it can be difficult to listen to the views of others that contradict our own opinions. The key to effective listening and interpersonal skills more generally is the ability to have a truly open mind – to understand why others think about things differently to you and use this information to gain a better understanding of the speaker.
  2. Bringing in Emotions – Emotions erect barriers to effective communication. A listener’s senses are not likely to be functioning at their optimum level when he or she is angry. Likewise, it is not possible to understand or appreciate what the speaker is saying if the listener is excessively sad.
  3. Noise – Noise is any unwanted sound. It is a great impediment to clear communication. It is impossible to listen in a noisy environment – it becomes a frustrating experience for both the speaker and the listener.
  4. Faking attention (often associated with tuning out) can be offensive and is usually hard to hide. This is hurtful and sends the message to the speaker that the listener doesn’t really care about what the speaker is saying. If an individual cannot listen actively in the present moment, it is best to let that be known and suggest that the communication process be put off until a point when there are no distractions.
  5. Becoming emotional can hinder one’s ability to listen. It is important that the receiver be aware of his or her emotions. If the sender is sending a message that is offensive, it is important to acknowledge that fact and be aware of the fact that something is threatening a breakdown in the process. When a receiver is angered, it is easy for him or her to miss the most important part of the sender’s message.
  6. To avoid jumping to conclusions, it may be helpful for the listener to wait until the speaker is finished before responding. It can also be helpful to ask questions throughout the conversation to clarify issues, or to let the speaker know that he or she is communicating in a way that suggests a certain thing, which may not be what they are intending to say.
  7. Distraction – It is easy to become distracted while trying to communicate. Often one has many tasks to do or there is a lot of other activity taking place while someone is trying to communicate. This can be a problem because it leads to miscommunication, faking attention, and tuning out all together–all of which threaten future communication.

Ways to Overcome Barriers in Listening

Although the reasons for listening breakdowns are numerous, there are many ways to improve listening skills. These are:

Provide clues that you are actively involved

Clues that one is actively listening can go a long way. It is important to the speaker to feel like the listener cares about what the speaker is saying. This is because it tends to send a message about whether or not the listener cares about the speaker in general. When people don’t feel like you care about them, they don’t trust you and the communication process quickly breaks down. Therefore, it sis important to use verbal and non-verbal clues that you are listening, including eye contact, gestures, and acknowledging statements.


Concentration requires willingness and practice. Practicing active listening helps with concentration but there are other elements that contribute to your ability to concentrate on what someone is saying. When you’re involved in an exchange of information, you can’t be multi-tasking. It’s important to position yourself in a way that maintains eye contact while allowing you to watch for body language and other non-verbal forms of communication.

Refrain from formulating an immediate response

It is important to refrain from formulating an immediate response. You won’t be able to fully concentrate on forming a genuine understanding of what the speaker is trying to say if you are too busy thinking about what you are going to say in response to them whenever it is your turn to talk. Instead, it is important to approach the communication as a dialogue. Dialogues help us to learn what others have to say by forcing us to think about their message and to acknowledge what we have heard rather than just responding with our own opinions.

Try to prepare beforehand

Preparation can have a huge impact on the outcome of a dialogue or any form of communication. To prepare for an interaction where effective listening will be important, it is essential to keep in mind the purpose of the exchange. What decisions need to be made and how the collaboration between sender and receiver relates are important factors to keep in mind. It is also helpful to approach the situation with the attitude of really caring about and wanting to know the truth. The dialogue should be viewed as an opportunity to uncover the truth and make progress, rather than as a challenge or conflict.

Be prepared to accept revisions

A willingness to accept revisions will keep the communication process running smoothly. Often people are so busy trying to defend their positions that they fail to really stop and think whether they could be improved upon or viewed in a different way. This is what is often referred to as “spending 90 seconds expressing an opinion and 900 seconds blindly defending it.”

Be sure the environment is conducive to listening

Choosing the right environment is important because it will help the listener focus and avoid distractions. Although there is no set environment which is best for all communication, in general it is best to avoid areas where there are high levels of activity, loud noises, an uncomfortable temperature, poor air flow, etc.

Implementing these techniques takes willingness and patience. The effort is worthwhile however, as the long-term benefit of improved communication skills will greatly increase one’s chances of success in the business world. Effective listening is the most important part of the communication process. It is probably the most difficult to master also. There are many barriers to effective listening, but practicing listening techniques will help one overcome these barriers and become a good listener.



Provide clues that you are actively involved
Refrain from formulating an immediate response
Try to prepare beforehand
Be prepared to accept revisions
Be sure the environment is conducive to listening


Sample Questions

  1. Which of these is not a barrier to listening?

(a)   Physical barrier

(b)   Linguistic barrier

(c)   Cultural barrier

(d)   Written barrier

  1. Listening is the __________ part of communication.

(a)   Receiving

(b)   Feedback

(c)   Delivery

(d)   Channel

  1. In listening, Concentration requires __________.

(a)   Willingness and practice

(b)   Capacity and practice

(c)   Willingness and behavior

(d)   Practice and behaviour

  1. A good speaker should use __________ to their advantage to keep an audience attentive.

(a)   Loud Volume

(b)   Gestures

(c)   Both Volume and tone

(d)   Tone

  1. In listening, which behaviour disrupt the listening process?

(a)   Doodling

(b)   Shuffling papers

(c)   Looking at the window

(d)   All The Above

  1. Mark the following statements as ‘True’ or ‘False’

(a)   There is no difference between hearing and listening. False

(b)   Effective listening is essential for effective speaking. True

(c)   As the ability to listen is Nature’s gift, there is no need to cultivate it through conscious efforts. False

(d)   One should listen not only with one’s ears but also with one’s eyes. True

(e)   Lack of interest in the subject is a barrier to active listening. True


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