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# Listening Skills Topics List

OBJECTIVES................................................................................................................................................2
WHY LISTENING?.......................................................................................................................................3
TEN MOST PRACTICED NONPRODUCTIVE LISTENING HABITS ...................................................5
STEPS IN EFFECTIVE LISTENING.........................................................................................................11
EMPATHIZING..........................................................................................................................................15
THE RELATIONS MODEL........................................................................................................................17

## Heartland Information Services 1

MT1 Training: Communication Skills
Listening Skills

OBJECTIVES
Upon completion of this module, you should
understand:

habits

## • The “RELATIONS” model and its effectiveness

in developing listening skills

## • How to improve listening skills through

effective note taking

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MT1 Training: Communication Skills
WHY LISTENING?

## • The average person spends 70 to 80 percent of

the day communicating: talking, writing and
listening.

## • About 40 percent of the time spent

communicating is spent listening.

## • During a typical 10 minute conversation the

average person retains only 25 to 30 percent of
what is said.

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MT1 Training: Communication Skills
FUN ACTIVITY

Following Directions
WHAT
A way to demonstrate the difficulties of listening carefully, even to simple
instructions.

HOW
1. Instruct participants that they will be given a simple math quiz. Inform them
that they can only write down their answers; all calculations should be done
mentally.
2. Proceed to read these math problems at a normal rate (answers are in
parentheses):

C. Start with a number that is 4 less than 12, and multiply by 6. (a=48)
D. Add 6 to 12, subtract 9, add 27, divide by 4, multiply by 6. (a=54)
E. From a number that is 2 less than 16 subtract 7 and multiply by 3.
(a=21)
F. Take the square root of 36, subtract 3, multiply by 11, add 7. (a=40)
G. Take a number 5 times greater than 6 subtract 20, divide by 2. (a=5)
H. In the numerical series 4,7,8,6,9,12, name the first 3 numbers? (a=4,7,8)
I. In the series 4,6,9,9,7,6,3 what’s the sum of the first 3 digits? (a=19)
J. In the series 5,6,7,6,9,8,6,5,4,6,6, the sum of the digits is what? (a=68)

DISCUSSION
1. How many people simply gave up and quit listening when a question got too
confusing?
2. What are some instances when you don’t feel like listening anymore? Why?
3. When giving a presentation, how can we be sure that our listeners can follow
oral directions? How can we make sure we don’t “lose” our audience when
explaining something?

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MT1 Training: Communication Skills
TEN MOST PRACTICED
NONPRODUCTIVE LISTENING
HABITS
• HABIT 1: Lack of interest in the subject
1. Becoming interested in the subject has 3
benefits:
1.You raise the self esteem of the speaker
2.You learn new vocabulary words indirectly
3.There will always be something in the subject
that you did not know
NOTE: There are no uninteresting subjects.

## • HABIT 2: Becoming so preoccupied with the

package that you miss the content
2. Speakers who look at the floor while taking,
play with objects, or wear unattractive or
inappropriate clothes divert some listeners.
3. Valuable insights are often missed because
listeners judge person or delivery and not the
content.
4. Effective listeners get content and avoid
stumbling over delivery error.
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• HABIT 3: Interrupting the speaker
5. Premature conclusions lead to interrupting
the speaker
6. “Hold your fire” until you have heard the
complete message.
7. It’s just as rude to step on people’s ideas as it
is to step on their toes.

## • HABIT 4: Focusing on details and missing the

point
8. Poor listeners focus only on facts.
9. Focusing solely on details can lead to
missing of the point.
10. Facts need to be connected to the concept.
11. Taking things literally can sometimes lead to
misunderstanding.

## • HABIT 5: Forcing everything into a

preconceived outline
12. Poor listeners often impose their own
organizational pattern on the speaker.

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MT1 Training: Communication Skills
13. Personal preconception leads you to hear
things as you wish they were, not as they actually
are.
• HABIT 6: Demonstrating an inactive body state
14. A sloppy posture frequently denotes an
unconcerned attitude.

## • HABIT 7: Creating or Tolerating Distractions

15. The main topics may not register completely
if we create or allow distractions.

## • HABIT 8: Tuning out difficult material

16. Poor listeners tend to leave out the difficult
material rather than building on word power.

## • HABIT 9: Letting Emotions Block the Message

17. When emotions go up, rationality comes
down.
• HABIT 10: Daydreaming
18. Take advantage of thought speed: put on
Summarize) while the person is talking.

## Heartland Information Services 8

MT1 Training: Communication Skills
FUN ACTIVITY

Listen Up

WHAT
An easy way to show how hard it is to listen to subjects that are
not topical to us. Also a way that will demonstrate that we retain
more about topics that are interesting to us.

HOW
1. Take any article from a magazine or newspaper. It should be
relatively short (a few paragraphs), and it should be about a
with little introduction. Afterwards, ask participants to write
down three or four details about the article.

## 2. Then read an interesting short article from a magazine or trade

them to identify three or four details or more if they can, from
the article.

DISCUSSION
1. Why was it so hard to de well on the first quiz?

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MT1 Training: Communication Skills
2. Research shows that we forget about 50 percent of the things we
hear almost immediately after hearing them. That explains the
difficulty with the first quiz. But why did we all seem to do
better on the second quiz?
3. Besides a lack of interest, what are some other barriers to
effective listening?

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MT1 Training: Communication Skills
STEPS IN EFFECTIVE LISTENING

1. Don’t interrupt

## 2. Paraphrase and repeat what you heard

If you don’t understand something, say so

## 5. Structure the content if you want to make

several points

6. Listen empathetically

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MT1 Training: Communication Skills
• 1 - DON’T INTERRUPT
19. The thought may have been a long time
coming
20. Not everyone thinks on his/her feet easily
21. Some people think out loud
22. You may have to hear it all over again

## • 2 - PARAPHRASE AND REPEAT WHAT

YOU HEARD
23. Allows the other person to check our
understanding
24. Allows you to concentrate on the speaker,
not on what you are planning to say next
25. Leads the other person to believe you really
are listening

## • 3 - DEFINE YOUR TERMS

26. Even simpler words can cause major
conflicts and misunderstandings

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• 4 - ASK FOR CLARIFICATION; IF YOU
DON’T UNDERSTAND, SAY SO
27. There is no stupid question – especially if it
prevents “nuclear meltdown”
28. Lets others “educate” you a little
29. Lets others see that you are listening closely
and seriously

## • 5 - STRUCTURE THE CONTENT IF YOU

WANT TO MAKE SEVERAL POINTS
30. Clarify your own thoughts and feelings
31. Help the other person understand
32. Focuses the attention on the key points
33. Facilitates a speedy but accurate conclusion
34. Prevents wandering off into tangents

• 6 - LISTEN EMPATHETICALLY
35. SIMPATHY: - pity, compassion,
commiseration
36. EMPATHY: - recognition and response,
problem solving
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EMPATHIZING
Empathizing means understanding another
person’s feelings

## • One’s own similar experience

• One’s own imagined reaction
• Observing this person in similar situations

## However, empathy goes beyond understanding to

supporting the person’s efforts to do something
When empathizing keep the focus of the
conversation on the other person.

## • Use “you” statements

• You” orientations improve interaction
• “I” statements focus on you
• “I” orientations can block communication

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SYMPATHY

## • Helps you spot:

37. Assumptions
39. Omissions
41. Hidden agendas
42. Unreal expectations

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THE RELATIONS MODEL
R Relaxed Tension
A nonjudgmental positive attitude helps
listener to be more aware
E Eye Contact
Maintain an eye contact with the speaker
L Lean towards the speaker
This body stance communicates an openness
to the speaker and encourages the speaker to
say more
A Active silence
Put on your EARS: silently Evaluate,
Anticipate, Review, and Summarize
T Tell me more
Use nonverbal feedback to encourage the
speaker to go on
I Involved feedback
Use verbal responses to involve yourself
with the thought process and feelings of the
speaker
O Open posture
Your open stance, subconsciously, helps the
speaker to believe that you are open to
thoughts and feelings
N Noise control
You need to prevent both internal and
external noises from distorting the message
S Squared off
“Square off” or directly face the speaker

## Heartland Information Services 17

MT1 Training: Communication Skills
FUN ACTIVITY
LATERAL THINKING PUZZLE

The Dream
The boss of a storage warehouse had just arrived at work when one
of his employees burst into his office.

The man explained that while asleep the previous night he had
dreamed that one of the stored boxes contained a bomb that would
explode at two p.m., causing a terrible fire.

## The boss was skeptical but agreed to investigate. After a search, a

bomb was found in the area foreseen in the man’s dream. The
police were called, the bomb defused, and a tragedy averted.
Afterwards the boss thanked the employee sincerely, then fired
him.

The sacked man had not planted the bomb, and his prophetic
dream had saved the warehouse from destruction. Yet the manager
was right to fire him.