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The Power of


What is Listening?
Listening (ILA, 1996): the process
of receiving, constructing meaning
from, and responding to spoken
and/or nonverbal messages; to hear
something with thoughtful attention.
Effective communication is 2-way
depends on speaking and listening

Listening vs. Hearing

Hearing- physical process; natural;
Listening- physical & mental process;
active; learned process; a skill
Listening is hard!
You must choose to participate in the
process of listening.

Fast Facts
We listen at 125-250 wpm, think at 1000-3000
75% of the time we are distracted,
preoccupied or forgetful.
20% of the time, we remember what we hear.
More than 35% of businesses think listening is
a top skill for success.
Less than 2% of people have had formal
education with listening.

Percentage of Time We Spend

on Each Type of Communication
Mode of

Percentage of
Time Used
of Training
12 years


6-8 years

16 %


1-2 years





Types of Listening
Appreciative listening
Empathetic listening
Comprehensive/active listening
Critical/analytical listening

Listening is the most powerful

form of acknowledgment
a way of saying to your
customer, You are important.

Why Be A Good Listener?

The Needs of the Customer
To be recognized and remembered
To feel valued
To feel appreciated
To feel respected
To feel understood
To feel comfortable about a want or

Bad Listening Habits

Criticizing the subject or the speaker

Getting over-stimulated
Listening only for facts
Not taking notes OR outlining everything
Tolerating or creating distraction
Letting emotional words block message
Wasting time difference between speed of
speech and speed of thought

Active Listening Skills

Effective listening is active participation in a


The listener must actually hear and not assume

what is said.

Active listeners sit or stand alertly, maintain eye

contact with the speaker, concentrate on the
speakers words, make verbal responses, and
summarize parts of what has been said when
clarity is needed.

We cannot learn anything from

others if we try to do all the talking.

Let speakers finish out their own


Dont interrupt them to interject your

own thoughts.

Pay attention to the tone of the

words and the nonverbal cues of the

Active Listening Requires

Definite Intent to Listen
Focus on the Speaker
Verbal and Non-Verbal Encouragers
Feedback Loop to Insure Accuracy

Active Listening (3 Steps)

1. Listen
2. Question
3. ReflectParaphrase

Step 1: Listen
To Feelings As Well As Words
Words Emotions -- Implications

Focus on Speaker
Dont plan, speak, or get distracted

What Is Speaker Talking About?

Topic? Speaker? Listener? Others?

Look At Speaker
Use Verbal & Non-Verbal Encouragers

Step 2: Question
3 Purposes
Demonstrates you are listening
Gather information

Tell me more?
How did you feel?
Then what happened?

Step 3: Reflect-Paraphrase
Reflect What Is Said (In your words)
Reflect Feelings
Capture the essence of the
Remove negative framing
Move toward problem solving

Lack of eye contact may be interpreted as
disinterest or disapproval.
Making eye contact with the speaker focuses
attention, reduces the chance of distraction,
and is encouraging to the speaker.

The effective listener shows signs of being

interested in what is said through nonverbal
signs. Together with good eye contact, nonverbal expressions convey active listening.

Do not look at other people, play with pens or

pencils, shuffle papers, or the like. These
activities make the speaker feel like the
listener is not interested in what is being said.
Questioning helps ensure clarification of what
the speaker is saying, facilitates
understanding, and lets the speaker know that
the listener is engaged.
Paraphrasing means restating what the
individual has said in different words. This
technique allows the listener to verify that the
message was received correctly.

Allow the speaker to complete his or

her thought before responding, and do
not anticipate what he/she will say.
Talking is easier than listening intently
to someone else. An active listener
recognizes that it is impossible to talk
and listen acutely at the same time.
Hearing is merely noting that someone
is speaking.

Listening is making sense of what is

heard and requires the individual to
constantly pay attention, interpret, and
remember what is heard.
Hearing is passive; listening is active.
The passive listener is much like a tape
recorder. If the speaker is providing a
clear message, the listener will probably
get most of what is said.

Active listening requires the listener to

hear the words and identify the feelings
associated with the words.
Listening is the ability to accurately
receive and interpret messages in the
communication process.
Listening is key to all effective

Without the ability to listen effectively

messages are easily misunderstood,
communication breaks down and the
sender of the message can easily
become frustrated or irritated.
Good listening skills can lead to better
customer satisfaction, greater
productivity with fewer mistakes,
increased sharing of information that in
turn can lead to more creative and
innovative work.

Effective listening is a skill that

underpins all positive human
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.
Your ability to listen effectively depends
on the degree to which you perceive and
understand these messages.