The Impact of Ineffective Listening on Interpersonal Interactions
The purpose of the article by Fedesco (2015) is to demonstrate to students how ineffective or effective listening skills affect interpersonal relationships between the speaker and the listener. The author concurs with Johnson (1996) by asserting that most people will spend an average 45% to 70% of their time listening to other people. Even though people are listening to others speak for most of the day, the importance of interpersonal interactions is often overlooked.
In order to reverse this trend, the author has come up with a 20-minute activity to be undertaken in the classroom. The activity is meant to demonstrate to the children effective and ineffective listening behaviors, how listeners affect he stories they are given as well as the impact that listening skills have on the quality of interpersonal relationships.
The rationale behind this activity is to demonstrate some of the listening behaviors exhibited by exhibited by effective listeners. These behaviors include short verbalizations such as “uh huh”, nodding, adjusting one’s posture, and smiling. Effective listeners also ask questions, and provide the speaker with encouragement to proceed with his presentation. The ineffective listeners usually do not practice these behaviors when they are meant to be listening to the speaker. Other things in the environment easily distract them, or they begin to think about other things while the speaker is speaking.
The effective listening behaviors prompt the speaker to improve his oratory skills as well as the material he is presenting. Exhibiting these active listening behaviors also helps the listeners and the speaker to co-construct a shared meaning. When his listeners do not exhibit these behaviors, the speaker may feel discouraged to proceed with his presentation. He might also do it hastily so that he gets out of the room, and this might lead to the loss of important information as well as the message. Therefore, interpersonal relationships can be built or destroyed using listening behaviors exhibited while someone is speaking.
From the activity, the learners will observe that the side of the room with effective listeners is more lively compared to the other side that has the ineffective listeners. This is because the effective listeners are actively engaging with the speaker. The learners will also observe that the speaker will take a longer time to make his presentation in the side with effective listeners. The speaker on the other side would have finished earlier because no one seems interested in what he has to say.
Fedesco, H.N. (2015). The impact of (in) effective listening on interpersonal interactions. The International Journal of Listening, 29:103-106.
Johnson, D. (1996). Helpful listening and responding. In K. M. Galvin & P. Cooper (Eds.), Making connections: Readings in relational communication (pp. 91–97). Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury