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Listening: The Most Important Skill Of Communication

1097 words - 5 pages

Introduction
Could the civil rights movement have occurred if no one listened to Abraham Lincoln or Dr. Martin Luther King? In order for a person to be a leader, he or she must have followers. Without the communication process this type of relationship is not possible. Specifically, without the skill of effective listening, the most important skill of the communication process, an interpersonal relationship cannot develop. Far too many people do not understand that real communication goes in both directions and that one must listen as much or more than they speak to effectively communicate. Without the ability to listen, an individual will not be successful in the communication process.
Learning to Communicate
A child is born with the ability to cry to express him or herself. Cries become coos, coos become babbling sounds, and with years of listening, practice and learning, language is developed. However, without the ability to listen to the people surrounding that child, it will be impossible for the child to develop language. To listen is not limited to hearing an individual, but to interpret tones, body language, and the words themselves. According to Dr. Bruce Perry, children should be encouraged to practice listening to be able to receive and process information accurately. Language is about being expressive but also about being receptive. In order for a meaningful exchange to take place, an individual has to be able to receive the message.
Types of Listening
The effectiveness of the listening process is what determines which type of listening is occurring. According to Daft (2012), listening can be classified into three different categories, which are as follows: passive, selective, and active listening. Passive listening refers to uninvolved listening, when there is no effort to receive and absorb the message (Rane, 2011). There are a number of reasons that passive listening can occur. There can be noise that is interrupting the message, the environment can have an effect on the individuals communicating, or the can just be a lack of interest from either individual.
Selective listening refers to people only hearing what they want to hear. When this type of listening occurs, the message is not thoroughly being processed because the receiver is not in a position to concentrate. This is a common occurrence for those individuals who feel pressed for time and want to assume they know what the other individual is referring to. Also, it has been noted in individuals who feel they do not have anything to learn from others, so exchanges often do not have depth because an individual will feel superior.
Active listening is the most desired type of listening there is and is also the hardest to achieve. Choosing to listen takes effort because people communicate with words, expressions and even silence, and individuals active attention will make them a better communicator (Saylor, 2014). During active listening, the listener makes efforts to...

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