Chapter 7 Blog

According to the book, listening is the most common form of communication. To me, this doesn’t make sense since when you listen, there is no response. How can someone who isn’t responding be communicating something to the other person? After further reading, the book states that listening has a nonverbal element to it where the listener can convey to a person that they are listening and processing what is being said. In this way, listening is very similar to nonverbal communication, but can be more complex and it makes sense that it is, in fact, a form of communication.

There are five parts to listening: hearing, attending, understanding, responding, and remembering. In retrospect, this process was required in all of the class activities we did last week. In the exercise where we repeated the words five to fifteen times, and then answered a question at the end of the repetition, completely unrelated to the word we were saying over and over again. In this case, we had to hear the instructions and attend to them to recognize and understand what we needed to do. Then when the question was asked, we had to respond with the correct answer. Although, the repetition of a related word, but incorrect answer, tricks us into not attending to the question. So focused on the repeated word, many people answered incorrectly. This would be an example of mindless listening. I tried this exact exercise on my friend using the tin example. I had him say the word tin five to fifteen times and asked him what an aluminum can was made of and he responded with “Tin”. He had heard the word ‘tin’ so many times that he assumed that would be the answer to the question without carefully listening to what the question was, which was the case for most of class. Although, after we did it in class two more times, most people paid better attention to the question because they remembered the incident from earlier where they answered incorrectly. Which goes to show that more people were listening mindfully the next time around.

One would think that listening would be the easiest form of communication, simply because the listener doesn’t have to respond, but this isn’t so. Many people don’t list very well because they get distracted, they’re busy attending to a lot of other things, there is too much information coming at them, or there is too much external noise for someone to effectively listen. For example, on the team bus the other night, I was trying to finishing reading a book for class. Sometimes I would get halfway down the page and realize I had not been processing the story at all. I was just reading words on a page and not connecting them with the whole of the story. This is mostly due to the inherent noisiness of the bus. All the girls want to talk to each other, the bus rattles, and the radio was on. All of these factors proved to completely distract me from being able to listen to the story. I would catch myself thinking of the lyrics to the songs or listening to someone else’s conversation because we were in such a small space. I probably chose the hardest place to try and read a book.

Most of the time, I feel like I’m a good listener, especially when distractions and outside noise is limited. If someone is telling me a story or how their day was I usually listen and ask question and I try not to be on my phone. If someone is telling me about something especially important or serious, I won’t even have my phone in my hand and I’ll try to make them feel better or ask them questions about how they feel about the situation. I also find myself paraphrasing a lot, especially when my boyfriend and I have an argument sometimes. I really want to make sure I know what he’s feeling and how to solve the problem so we both end up happy and don’t have a misunderstanding.

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