Elemental Truths

A resource compiled for business owners, education professionals, counselors, and other interested parties on effective management,conduct analysis, behavior research, best practice procedures, crisis techniques, counseling resources and a clearing house for associated needful materials and tools and training. Similar topics would be in the 100's section of the library on philosophy and psychology.

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Reg holds a Bachelors and a Masters in education and a Doctorate in counseling. In addition to working in the public school system he does consultation work, private tutoring and guest speaking.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Poor and Good Listening

This information comes from "How to Be a Better Listener" by Sherman K. Okum, in Nation's Business, August 1975,

Did you know only about 25% of listeners actually grasp the central concept of the message spoken. This is significantly less if you measure only males.

Here are the characteristics of poor and good listeners.

Poor Listeners
  1. Wool gathers with slow speakers.
  2. Tunes our with dry topics.
  3. Easily distracted.
  4. Takes many notes, but misses key elements.
  5. Seeks out and enters arguments.
  6. Frustrates when listening to difficult material.
  7. Allows unfamiliar works to break his attention.
  8. Does not actively focus.
  9. Judges the quality of delivery.
  10. Listens for facts.
Good Listeners
  1. Mentally evaluates the message and its supporting details.
  2. Seeks applicable "take away" messages.
  3. Concentrates beyond distractions and speaker mannerisms.
  4. Utilizes several note taking methods.
  5. Reserves judgment until comprehension is complete.
  6. Examines more complex information on a regular basis.
  7. Concentrates beyond words that are heavy in implied meaning
  8. Maintains good eye contact and holds body language that encourages the speaker.
  9. Judges based on content, not delivery.
  10. Listens for concepts rather than details.



Blogger Keera said...

Interesting break-down of the differences, and several new facts for me.

Any suggestions on how to speak to a poor listener?

5:59 AM  
Blogger Reg Adkins said...

It depends on the audience. Are there several? Is it a one-to-one situation? Is it a male or female listener? There are many factors to think about.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Keera said...

I have a specific one-to-one situation in mind where I am the computer savvy one trying to explain stuff to a non-computer savvy man who nevertheless must use computers. I am female and 20 years younger than him. We have communication and thinking styles at opposite ends of the spectrum; I'm the hare, he's the tortoise.

I don't think either of us are able to relate to a different style of communication; I know I struggle with that. For example, I will ask a question, without any introductory background info, and if I get the answer (short, please) that I want, I'm done; if not, I'll ask another question. My co-worker will give a full back story before ever getting to the question, and that's when I become the poor listener because without knowing why I'm being told all this, it finds no home in my brain and I lose the thread and interest.

5:09 AM  
Blogger Reg Adkins said...

With the above givens, I can make the following suggestions for the listener.
-assume an active listening posture ( make eye contact, lean toward the speaker, etc.)
-while listening actively seek to put the information in groups (how can I apply this to what I already know?...)
-maintain your awareness that some people speak as a processessing activity and you aren't really required to have a solution for their output.

There are strategies for speakers as well, but only the speaker may apply them. So, it would be mute to address them now.

If you need further information or greater details, let me know.


6:09 AM  
Blogger Keera said...

Thanks, Reg!

Thanks, Reg!

So many times I've heard that body language is part of language, and yet it is so easy to forget. I will try a more welcoming posture. I'll also try the tip about associating what I'm told with stuff I already know. As for realizing people process out loud, it's a bit dangerous for me to ignore that since I then tune out completely. I need to pay attention or suddenly I miss the one thing that was an important piece of information. I think maybe I need to just ask what the problem is (a keyword or something) and then encourage my co-worker to give me his back story after that. I'm not good at communicating my own needs as a listener.

9:08 AM  

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