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Developing Skills for Youthful Leaders: Module 5: Listening Skills to Improve Communication1

Elizabeth B. Bolton, John R. Rutledge, Linda Bowman and Linda Barber2

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Teaching Instructions

Preparing to Teach

  1. Prepare for teaching this lesson by reading and familiarizing yourself with the objectives, materials, handouts and exercises.

  2. Begin your preparation several days in advance so that you will be able to secure whatever additional resources you need to make the lesson a "local" learning experience.

  3. Plan your learning environment with care so that the surroundings contribute to the achievement of the objectives.

  4. Begin on time and end on time. Schedule a break at about midpoint of the lesson.

  5. With all lessons after the first, ask participants what they did as a result of last week's lesson. Record these!

  6. Introduce each lesson with an overview of how it fits with leadership development program for youth.

  7. End each lesson with a summary and restatement of objectives. Tell participants what you expect them to do with the lesson after they leave.

  8. Heighten their anticipation for the next lesson without sharing too much.

  9. Each lesson is designed for approximately two hours. Use your judgement on shortening or expanding various parts according to the needs of your participants.

  10. The two hour lesson is divided into sections that are described in the "Teaching Guide." Each section starts with a title, description of the activity, purpose, time needed to complete it, materials needed, and directions for students or teacher. Use the notes portion of each section to record suggestions for the next time the lesson is used.

  11. Each lesson contains a combination of brief lectures and student activities designed for the objectives of each lesson. The lectures are short and the student activities are designed for students to experience the point or topic of the lecture. Both the lectures and the student activities may be modified as appropriate for a specific student group or topic.

  12. Student handouts are included for selected sections of each lesson. When these are included, duplications for each student should be prepared prior to the class. Masters for overhead transparencies are also included for selected sections.

  13. After each lesson, students are asked to share the experiences they have had with their parents. A letter to the parents or a parent teen exercise is included with each lesson. Prepare the appropriate number of copies in advance and tell students this is part of the leadership experience. Solicit feedback from parents and record this in the notes for each lesson.

  14. "Homework" as an after class assignment to enable students to use the topics in a situation outside the classroom is included in each lesson. Assign this at the end of the class and ask for reports, verbal or written, of the "homework" assignment prior to beginning a new lesson.

  15. These materials, lectures, activities, and handouts come from many sources and care is taken to document the original source when it is known. If the original source or author is not known, a secondary source is given.

Objectives

  1. To learn that listening is part of communication.

  2. To learn how to listen.

  3. To overcome barriers to good listening.

  4. To understand feedback as a communication tool.

  5. To learn how to provide feedback as a test of listening.

Lesson Outline

Table 1. 

Lesson Outline (For Two Sessions of Two Hours Each)

Section and Topic

Page

Time

Part 1

1. Why is Listening Important?

Lecture

Objectives

10

10 mins.

2. Non-Listening

Student Activity

Discussion

11

20 mins.

3. Experience in Listening

Student Activity

Discussion

12

10 mins.

4. Types of Listening

Lecture

Handouts

14

10 mins.

5. Evaluative Listening

Lecture

15

5 mins.

BREAK

5 mins.

6. Evaluative Listening/Pressure From Friends Lecture

Handout

6a. Empathetic Listening - Lecture

16

17

10 mins.

15 mins.

7. Feelings

Student Activity

Discussion

18

10 mins.

8. Listening Styles

Lecture

19

10 mins.

9. Points for Good Listening

Lecture

Handout

20

15 mins.

END OF PART I

PART II

10. Giving Feedback

Lecture

21

10 mins.

11. Getting Feedback

Student Activity

Discussion

22

30 mins.

12. "I" Messages

Lecture

24

15 mins.

Break

5 mins.

13. Case Studies

Student Activity

25

30 mins.

14. Reflective Listening

Lecture

Handout

26

15 mins.

15. Summary

Homework Assignment

Parent-Teen Activity

27

15 mins.

END OF PART II

Teaching Guide

Section 1 - Why is Listening Important?

Title: Why is Listening Important?

Description: Lecture

Purpose: To introduce lesson and establish reason to study listening

Time: About 10 minutes

Materials: Lecture section "Why Is listening Important", Overhead A and B with lesson objectives

Directions: Present brief lecture and then show objectives on overhead transparency. Read the objectives and tell students this is what they will learn in this lesson.

Notes:

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Section 2 - Non-Listening

Title: Non-Listening

Description: Student Activity

Purpose: To demonstrate the importance of listening

Time: About 20 minutes

Materials needed: None

Directions:

Divide into small groups. Tell students to choose a speaker. The speaker is to share some simple facts about himself/herself; where they go to school, how many brothers and sisters they have, how old they are, when their birthday is or a funny story about himself/herself.

The speaker is to tell the rest of the group the facts about himself/herself. The rest of the group is to do everything they can to keep from listening, short of leaving the room. No physical contact or moving around the room.

Everyone will have a chance to be the speaker. Allow about 2 or 3 minutes for each speaker and then call time to switch speakers. Divide into groups and begin to "non listen."

Questions for discussion:

• Did anyone end up listening to the speaker?

• Have any of you experienced not being listened to when you were trying to communicate?

• Have any of you found yourself not listening to a speaker?

• Is it easier to listen or not listen? why?

Notes:

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Section 3 - Experience in Listening

Title: Experience in Listening

Description: Student Activity

Purpose: To test ability to listen and carry out instructions

Time: About 10 minutes

Materials needed: Pencil and paper for each person

Directions:

1. The teacher comments: Often we do not listen carefully. We are going to test your listening and your ability to carry out instructions in the following exercise. I am going ask you to draw something on a sheet of paper. Listen carefully and try to do exactly as I tell you. None of the instructions will be repeated. I will give them only once. I will go fairly fast, so you will not be able to look at your neighbor's paper. Concentrate on listening to me and doing exactly as I request.

2. Instructions:

a. Place a sheet of paper before you as you would for writing a letter.

b. Draw a line across the top of the page parallel to the top and about one inch from the top.

c. Draw a second line across the top of the page parallel to the first line and about 1/2 inch below the first line.

d. Draw a third line the length of the page parallel to the left side of the page and about one inch from the left side.

e. Draw a fourth line parallel to the third line and bout 1/2 inch to the right of the third line.

f. In the small upper left-hand space, write the word "united."

g. In the larger upper hand left space, write the word "states."

h. In the small square, print a small letter "d" (lower case) and upside down.

i. Fold the paper three times and sign your name.

j. Exchange your paper with a neighbor.

k. Open the paper now in your possession. If anyone thinks the paper you have in your hand is correct, raise your hand.

3. The teacher moves around looking at the papers considered correct and indicates whether or not they are.

Usually, about 10% or 15% of the papers in any group are completely correct.

4. The leader comments:

Look what has happened. I ask you to draw a few lines, write the name of your country, a letter of the alphabet, fold the paper and sign your name--and only _____ out of ______ were able to do it correctly even after being cautioned to give complete attention to it.

It is true that what we were trying was not very important, but it would probably have been the same if it had been very important.

Communicating accurately is very difficult.

Notes:

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Section 4 - Types of Listening

Title: Types of Listening

Description: Lecture and handout

Purpose: To understand the different types of listening

Time: About 10 minutes

Materials needed: Lecture, Overhead C and Student Handout #1, "Types of Listening"

Directions: Present brief lecture with overhead and student handout.

Notes:

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Section 5 - Evaluative Listening

Title: Evaluating Listening

Description: Lecture

Purpose: To describe and important type of listening

Time: About 5 minutes

Materials needed: Lecture, "Evaluative Listening" and overhead E

Directions: Present brief lecture.

Notes:

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Section 6 - Evaluating Listening and Pressure From Friends

Title: Evaluative Listening and Pressure From Friends

Description: Lecture and handout

Purpose: To help deal with pressure from friends

Time: About 10 minutes

Materials needed: Lecture "Evaluative Listening and Pressure from Friends" and Handout #2 "Strategies"

Directions: Present lecture using overhead transparencies followed by handout to students.

Notes:

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Section 6a- Empathetic Listening

Title: Empathetic Listening

Description: Lecture

Purpose: To listen--to help the speaker

Time: 15 minutes

Materials Needed: Lecture “Empathetic Listening” and Overhead F

Directions: Present lecture using overhead transparency.

Notes:

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Section 7 - Feelings

Title: Feelings

Description: Student activity and discussion

Purpose: To learn to notice how others are feeling by listening and observing

Time: 10 mins.

Materials Needed: None

Directions: Have the participants write down three things about which they feel strongly and identify the feeling the have. For example, "This project is too hard, I'll never get it finished on time." The feeling is frustration. "I'm out of money." The feeling is discouraged, worried or upset.

Model these two examples with another person.

Speaker: Yesterday I did a crazy thing. I went out and bought myself an expensive radio. (Feeling: Satisfied, happy.)

Listener: You feel happy because you are smiling and your tone of voice seems happy.

Speaker: I give up! I tried, but my parents just won't take the time to listen to me. (Feelings: frustration, defeat.)

Listener: You seem upset, your shoulders are slumped and you look like you just lost your best friend.

Before dividing into small groups, explain that they will take turns being the speaker, the listener and the observer. Speakers will make their statements with the appropriate feelings. The listener will identify the feelings and why they chose that feeling. The observer will then state what they heard the speaker expressing. After the speaker shares his/her three statements, switch roles.

Notes:

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Section 8 - Listening Styles

Title: Listening Styles

Description: Lecture

Purpose: To learn that effective commaunication depends on using several listening styles

Time: About 10 mins.

Materials needed: Lecture "Listening Styles", Handout #3 and Overhead G

Directions: Present brief lecture. Distribute Handout #3 at the beginning of the lecture.

Notes:

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Section 9 - Points for Good Listening

Title: Points for Good Listening

Description: Lecture and Handout

Purpose: To establish good listening habits and eliminate bad ones

Time: About 15 minutes

Materials needed: Lecture "Points for Good Listening", Handout #4 and Overhead H

Directions: Present brief lecture using overhead and handout for summary.

Notes:

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Section 10 - Giving Feedback

Title: Giving Feedback

Description: Lecture

Purpose: To show the importance of feedback as a test of listening

Time: About 10 minutes

Materials needed: Lecture "Giving Feedback" and Overhead I

Directions: Present brief lecture using overhead transparency.

Notes:

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Section 11 - Getting Feedback

Title: Getting Feedback

Description: Student Activity and Discussion

Purpose: To examine communication with and without feedback

Time: About 30 minutes

Materials needed: Getting Feedback - Figure 1 in lecture section

Directions:

Instructions: This exercise will demonstrate why feedback is important to help others communicate and listen accurately. First find a volunteer who will try to communicate with the group without the use of feedback or nonverbal signals.

Pass out blank sheets of paper to the group and explain the following task: The volunteer will give the group directions to copy a simple drawing. The volunteer has as much time as he or she needs to communicate the directions for making the drawing, using only verbal directions. Give the volunteer a copy of Figure 1. The group is instructed to ask no questions and to make no comments. The volunteer is to stand with his/her back to the group.

As the volunteer directs the drawing of Figure 1, be aware of the reactions of the groups members as well as those of the volunteer. Also note the length of time it takes to complete the drawings.

Ask for a second volunteer and give the drawing of Figure 2. This time the volunteer will be allowed to receive feedback and use nonverbal information. This volunteer will face the group and is allowed as much time as necessary to give thorough directions. This volunteer may use nonverbal and verbal communications. Anyone in the group may ask questions.

Compare the two drawings.

Questions for discussion:

• How did the volunteers feel while giving the instructions?

• How did the participants feel while trying to draw the first drawing? The second drawing?

Notes:

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Section 12 - "I" Messages

Title: "I" Messages

Description: Lecture

Purpose: To tell how to give feedback that demonstrates understanding or listening

Time: About 15 minutes

Materials needed: Lecture-"I" Messages

Directions: Give brief lecture.

Notes:

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Section 13 - Case Studies

Title: Case Studies

Description: Student activity and discussion

Purpose: To demonstrate how to give feedback that shows understanding and listening

Time: About 30 minutes

Materials needed: Handouts #5 and #6

Directions: Determine the "I" message to use in these case study situations. Pattern messages after the examples shown in Handout #5.

Discussion:

• Was it easy to use "I" messages and not "You" messages?

• Did you keep from using the word you?

Notes:

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Section 14 - Reflective Listening

Title: Reflective Listening

Description: Lecture and Handout

Purpose: To show a second type of feedback

Time: About 15 minutes

Materials needed: Lecture "Reflective Listening" and Handout #7

Directions: Present a short lecture followed by Handout.

Notes:

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Section 15 - Summary

Title: Summary

Description: Closing remarks

Purpose: To end the session

Time: About 15 minutes

Materials: Summary in lecture section and Overhead K

Directions: Provide a brief summary. Assign homework and give parent-teen communication assignment to each student.

Notes:

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Lecture Materials

Why is Listening Important?

Listening is the most frequent and important type of communication. People spend 75 percent of a typical day either speaking or listening. Studies indicate that an average of 29.5 percent of the time they are awake is spent listening. This is more than the time spent talking and reading combined. Approximately 98 percent of learning in a person's lifetime is done through the eyes and ears. The Chinese characters that make up the verb "to listen" reveal the significance of this skill. (Overhead A)

"WE HEAR ONLY HALF OF WHAT IS SAID TO US, UNDERSTAND ONLY HALF OF THAT, BELIEVE ONLY HALF OF THAT, REMEMBER ONLY HALF OF THAT."

Good communication requires at least two basic skills: listening and giving feedback. When we center our thoughts on ourself or what is going on in our own life, we are not very attentive to others. Listening takes serious practice. We need to pay attention to our feelings and the feelings communicated by those around us.

If we try to concentrate for one minute on what is being said, most of us will only be able to concentrate totally for a few seconds. Try this for one minute out of every hour until you can completely concentrate for at least one minute. This will be harder than you think. While this may not make you a perfect listener, it can make you a better listener. Your pay-off may be better understanding, increased efficiency, and closer friendships.

Types of Listening

The first step in becoming a better listener is understanding the three types of listening. (Handout #1, Overhead C)

• INFORMATIONAL

• EVALUATIVE

• EMPATHETIC

Informational Listening

Informational is the most common type of listening. We use informational listening to understand a wide variety of messages: a teacher's instructions, a friend's problem, an invitation to a party, or a parent's rules.

To improve your ability to understand informational messages: (Overhead D)

• Don't judge prematurely. You should understand another's ideas before judging them. Your goal in this type of listening is to learn, not to criticize. For example, you might ask a friend's opinion on an idea, then judge the answer rather than try to understand their point of view. Listen first, be sure you understand, then evaluate.

This type of listening is especially hard when the speaker is criticizing your idea or behavior. Remember, you will not know if you are right until you have heard what your critic has said.

• Look for the main and supporting points. Mentally organize and look for patterns in the conversation. What is he/she really trying to say? If you can identify the reasons behind a speaker's point, your ability to listen will improve. Why is mom really mad? Because I was thirty minutes late or because she was concerned about me?

• Ask questions and paraphrase. Being a good listener does not always mean keeping quiet. Questioning and putting the ideas in your own words, paraphrasing, are valuable tools to understanding. Paraphrasing is not repeating the speaker's statements word for word or parroting a response. Paraphrasing might mean saying, "Mom, I think you are mad because I worried you by not calling or is something else wrong?" This gives Mom a chance to confirm or deny the situation and give more information.

• Repeat what you heard or take notes. If it is appropriate, taking notes can serve as a reminder of the important parts of the conversation. If notes are not appropriate, repetition works well. As soon as possible, state the ideas to another person.

Evaluative Listening

When others are trying to persuade you to do something, try using evaluative listening. To improve your evaluative listening: (Overhead E)

• Consider the speaker's motive. The idea has more validity when the speaker does not have something to gain by your support. A friend wants you to go to a party. This is a nice invitation unless he is only asking you because you have a car.

• Examine the supporting evidence. Does the friend talk to you only before an event when he needs a ride, or is he consistently a friend? Does what he says really make sense?

• Consider the speaker's reputation. Does he have a reputation for being truthful and honest or is he untrustworthy?

• Be careful when emotional appeals are being made. Emotions can make us forget the logical facts. "You just have to go with me, I could never go by myself." To reach intelligent decisions, you must put aside your emotions for a moment while you consider the more logical dimensions of the issue.

Evaluative Listening and Pressure From Friends

Evaluative listening is a way to deal with pressure from friends. Handout #2: "Strategies" summarizes six methods which help apply evaluative listening:

  • DECIDE HOW YOU FEEL. Do you really want to go along with the crowd? Are you feeling manipulated because someone else is putting expectations on you? Do you want to get out from under the pressure?

  • SAY NO! We have all heard the advertisements that tell us to, "Just say no!" Saying no repeatedly, simply, and firmly is effective.

  • DON'T MAKE EXCUSES. Quoting a standard is okay, i.e., "I just don't like to smoke," but don't make excuses others might take as an opportunity to "talk you out of it." Then you have to find another reason for not participating.

  • USING YOUR CREDIT. This is a technique to use when you are with a group which likes you. Friends often use their friendship to manipulate you. Turn this around and use the friendship to protect yourself. Use Statements like:

-You mean I have to ________________ to be your friend?

-If I have to _________________ to be your friend, then I don't want to be friends.

-If you are my friends, why would you want me to ________________? That is something I really don't want to do.

  • RECRUIT A FRIEND. Turn to someone in the group and ask how they really feel about the issue. This will reduce the pressure on you if the friend agrees with you. Even if they aren't agreeing, you have shown your strength by asking someone else:

-Do you agree with them?

-Do you think I should try this?

-What do you think I should do?

-Are you going to do this?

  • DELAY THE DECISION. Delaying is good if you want to think about the commitment. For example, you aren't sure you have the time for the activity or responsibility. It gives you some time to think of how to say no. The disadvantage is that eventually you will have to give an answer. This doesn't solve the problem, it is just delayed.

Empathetic Listening

The informational and evaluative listening are for our own benefit; the primary goal of empathetic listening is to help the speaker. The listener desires to understand the thoughts, feelings, and positions of the other person.

The most common type of empathetic listening is advising:

"Here's what I think...." "You might try..." This type of help is not always appreciated. This may suggest that the advice-giver thinks he is right and the speaker is wrong. The help might be right for you and wrong for the other person. People who ask for advice do not always want advice. They may simply be looking for someone who will confirm a decision they have already made.

The second type of empathetic listening is analyzing the speaker's problem.

This is not a good response when you are unsure of all the facts, when the person is looking for a sympathetic friend, or when your goal is to prove how smart you are. Watch asking questions. This can keep others from sharing in their own way. Sometimes questions can seem like prying or implying the speaker did something foolish.

For many people, understanding feelings is more important than the words. Giving advice and analyzing tends to focus on the words, not the feelings. Your strength lies in being a friend and "being there" when a friend is needed.

To improve your skills as an empathetic listener: (Overhead F)

    • Talk less and listen more. You must gather information before you can give good advice. Simply being there and listening is often more helpful than any other response.

    • Avoid being judgmental. Avoid the temptation to judge the behavior of the advice-seeker. It is rare to find a friend who will allow us to express our thoughts and feelings without fear of criticism. Being nonjudgmental does not mean you have to approve of the behavior; it just means you have not evaluated it in any way.

    • Listen for feelings as well as ideas. Many people do not express their emotions. Paraphrasing the emotion you sense can give the speaker a chance to agree with or contradict your interpretation. "You seem to be both angry and confused about what your parents really want you to do about college."

Listening Styles

To learn to communicate more effectively, understand the different styles of listening. Individuals will tend to use a combination of these styles. (Overhead G, Handout #3)

Table 2. 
LEISURE

These people listen for pleasure. They tend to

be relaxed; not intense. They must be interested

in the topic to listen carefully.

INCLUSIVE

These listeners comprehend the facts without

being given a lot of details. They process the

information quickly and effectively. They want

to be involved in the communication process.

STYLISTIC

Nonverbal impressions are important to this

style of listener. They give attention to images

and appearances. The qualifications of the

speaker are important.

TECHNICAL

These listeners tend to ignore the emotion in

communication. They are interested in

procedures, research, and how we

communicate.

EMPATHETIC

The purpose of these listeners is to help the

speaker in some way. They tend to focus on

the feelings behind the message.

NON-CONFORMIST

These listeners look critically at the speaker and

message. They evaluate and look for

inconsistencies and problems.

To be most effective, use a balance of several of these styles. Work on developing a balance in your listening styles.

Points for Good Listening

Most people listen carefully only a small percentage of the time. It is pretty discouraging to realize that most of the time we are not hearing others and they are not listening to us. By recognizing good listening habits we can become better listeners. (Overhead H and Handout #4)

Stop talking! You cannot listen if you are talking. Do you believe it is more important to talk than to listen? Although speaking has advantages, realize listening can also pay off. Being a good listener is a way to help others and to learn valuable information. Listening is an excellent way to gain the respect of friends.

Concentrate on the speaker We think at a speed of 600 words per minute and speak at 100-140 words per minute. Our minds tend to wander while we are trying to listen. Concentrate on the ideas the speaker is presenting and look for relationships between the ideas. Don't assume you know what the speaker is going to say.

Put the speaker at ease Give the speaker nonverbal clues that you are listening--such as eye contact, a smile or a nod of the head.

Remove distractions Do not try to listen and watch television or read a book at the same time. Look and act interested.

Empathize with the speaker Try to see the speaker's point of view. This does not mean you have the same feelings and positions, just that as the listener you are trying to understand the speaker. Listen to what the speaker is trying to tell you. Be willing to let the other person feel the way she/he does. Experiences form our feelings. If you want the 'right" to feel the way you do, then give others the same right.

Be patient Allow time for the speaker to think, to collect his/her thoughts and feelings. Don't jump in too soon. The speaker needs time to gather his thoughts and decide what he wants to say next.

Hold your temper Remember, an angry person assigns the wrong meaning to words. An angry or upset person does not listen accurately.

Go easy on argument and criticism This puts people on the defensive. Control your responses. Try not to argue with the words in your mind and avoid dismissing an idea before the speaker has fully expressed himself.

Ask questions This encourages a speaker and shows that you are listening. It helps to develop points further and gives the speaker a clear indication if his/her message is being correctly received. Ask questions to better understand the information and not to show how smart you are.

Make eye contact Sixty-five percent of a message is communicated through nonverbal clues. Sixty-five percent of the emotional meaning of words comes from nonverbal clues. Practice listening with your eyes as well as your ears.

Stop talking! You cannot do an effective job of listening while you are talking.

Remember, nature gave people two ears and only one tongue. This is a gentle hint that we should listen twice as much as we speak. Listening requires both ears, one to listen for meaning and one for feeling.

Giving Feedback

Feedback helps the listener to concentrate and allows them to tell the speaker whether the message was understood. If it is done with care and consideration, it is an important tool for good communication.

Feedback describes your reaction instead of evaluating the other person's performance. It is specific and addresses a behavior the listener can change.

Feedback should be based on these criteria: (Overhead I)

BE CONSIDERATE

Feedback can be destructive if you don't consider the needs and feelings of the person receiving the message.

CONSIDER THE TIMING

Feedback is usually most useful when it is given as soon as possible and best when the other person is ready to listen.

GET FEEDBACK ON YOUR FEEDBACK

Ask to have your comments rephrased to make sure you are being understood.

"I" Messages

One type of feedback is "I" messages. "You" messages make others feel badly about themselves, and as if they have to defend themselves. This causes resistance to change. "You" messages can be orders, commands, blaming, or name-calling statements. They provide your idea of a good solution. They may be seen as threats. Some examples of "you" messages are:

    • "You are always late. Why can't you ever be on time? You are so irresponsible."

    • "You never ask me if you can borrow my sweaters. You just take them. You are so inconsiderate of other people. Why don't you grow up?"

    • "If you don't ... then I will ..."

In contrast, "I" messages are a feedback behavior that can be learned. An "I" message allows us to tell people what impact a behavior has on us. At the same time, it lets them decide whether or not to change the behavior. Since we are describing our response and not evaluating behavior or suggesting changes, we are not forcing them to accept our ideas. "I" messages are not easy, and they are only effective if we are willing to share how we really feel about a situation. Some examples of "I" messages are:

    • "When I am expecting someone to pick me up and they are an hour late, I am both angry and worried."

    • "When my belongings are borrowed without my permission, I feel that my feelings do not matter and I have no personal privacy."

    • "If I don't have the time to finish my homework, then I am going to lose my scholarship. That really worries me because I want to have time to help my friends as well."

Reflective Listening

A second type of feedback is reflective listening. The listener reflects what he hears being said. The difference is the listener is listening for the feelings behind the words. Reflective listening is composed of four major areas: (Handout #7)

Table 3. 
LISTENERS NOTICE THE FEELINGS EXPRESSED BY THE SPEAKER. Careful attention is paid to the nonverbal part of the message.
LISTENERS REFLECT THE FEELINGS BACK TO THE SPEAKER.

-"You sound delighted..."

-"You seem upset that..."

-"You sound frustrated..."

NO JUDGMENT IS MADE ABOUT THE FEELINGS. The speaker is not evaluated as good or bad because of his/her feelings.
OPTIONS ARE GIVEN.

When trying to determine nonverbal messages, the listener can never be sure his/her interpretation is correct. Give options, don't try to read the speaker's mind.

-"You sound delighted that you are going to Florida. Are you?"

-"You seem upset about the exam or are you just tired?"

-"You sound angry with me or are you just frustrated?"

Summary

Communication is a process which demands your concentration and effort. Developing effective listening skills may benefit you in all areas of your life. (Overhead K)

"The reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather to what he does not say." - Kahil Gibran

Overhead Transparency Masters

Overhead A - Importance of Listening

"WE HEAR ONLY HALF OF WHAT IS

SAID TO US,

UNDERSTAND ONLY HALF OF THAT,

BELIEVE ONLY HALF OF THAT,

REMEMBER ONLY HALF OF THAT."

Overhead B - Objectives

1. To learn that listening is part of communication.

2. To learn how to listen.

3. To overcome barriers to good listening.

4. To understand feedback as a communication tool.

5. To learn how to provide feedback as a test of listening.

Overhead C - Types of Listening

• INFORMATIONAL

• EVALUATIVE

• EMPATHETIC

Overhead D - Improving Informational Listening

• Don't judge prematurely

• Look for main and supporting points

• Ask questions and paraphrase

• Repeat what you heard or take notes

Overhead E - Improving Evaluative Listening

• Listen for the ideas before evaluating

• Consider the speaker's motive

• Examine the supporting evidence

• Consider the speaker's reputation

• Be careful of emotional appeals

Overhead F - Improving Empathetic Listening

• Talk less and listen more

• Avoid being judgmental

• Listen for feelings as well as ideas

Overhead G - Listening Styles

Table 4. 

LEISURE

TECHNICAL

INCLUSIVE

EMPATHETIC

STYLISTIC

NON-COMFORMIST

Overhead H - Points for Good Listening

Table 5. 

Stop talking

Be patient

Concentrate on the speaker

Hold your temper

Put the speaker at ease

Go easy on argument and criticism

Remove distractions

Ask questions

Empathize with the speaker

Make eye contact

Overhead I - Feedback

BE CONSIDERATE

CONSIDER THE TIMING

GET FEEDBACK ON YOUR FEEDBACK

Overhead J - "I" Messages

When (behavior), I feel (impact of behavior) because (explanation).

Overhead K - Quote by Kahil Gibran on Listening

"The reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather to what he does not say."

-Kahil Gibran

Student Handouts

Handout #1 - Types of Listening

Table 6. 

Types of Listening

INFORMATIONAL LISTENING:

The most common type of listening.

Used to understand a wide variety of messages.

TO IMPROVE INFORMATIONAL LISTENING:

Don't judge prematurely.

Look for the main and supporting points.

Ask questions and paraphrase.

Repeat what you heard or take notes.

EVALUATIVE LISTENING:

When others are trying to persuade you to do something.

TO IMPROVE EVALUATIVE LISTENING:

Listen for the idea before evaluating.

Examine the supporting evidence.

Consider the speaker's reputation.

Be careful when emotional appeals are made.

EMPATHETIC LISTENING:

The goal of this type of listening is to help the speaker.

May be advising or analyzing.

TO IMPROVE EMPATHETIC LISTENING:

Talk less and listen more.

Avoid being judgmental.

Listen for feelings as well as ideas.

Handout #2 - To Deal With Pressure From Friends

DECIDE HOW YOU FEEL.

Do you really want to go along with the crowd? Are you feeling manipulated because some else is putting expectations on you? Do you want to get out from under the pressure?

SAY NO!

We have all heard the advertisements that tell us to, "Just say no!" Saying no repeatedly, simply, and firmly is effective.

DON'T MAKE EXCUSES.

Quoting a standard is okay, i.e., "I just don't like to smoke," but don't make excuses others might take as an opportunity to "talk you out of it." Then you have to find another reason for not participating.

USING YOUR CREDIT.

This is a technique to use when you are with a group which likes you. Friends often use their friendship to manipulate you. Turn this around and use the friendship to protect yourself. Use Statements like:

-You mean I have to ________________ to be your friend?

-If I have to _________________ to be your friend, then I don't want to be friends.

-If you are my friends, why would you want me to ________________? That is something I really don't want to do.

RECRUIT A FRIEND.

Turn to someone in the group and ask how they really feel about the issue. This will reduce the pressure on you if the friend agrees with you. Even if they aren't agreeing, you have shown your strength by asking someone else:

-Do you agree with them?

-Do you think I should try this?

-What do you think I should do?

-Are you going to do this?

DELAY THE DECISION.

Delaying is good if you want to think about the commitment. For example, you aren't sure you have the time for the activity or responsibility. It gives you some time to think of how to say no. The disadvantage is that eventually you will have to give an answer. This doesn't solve the problem, it is just delayed.

Handout #3 - Listening Styles

Table 7. 
STYLE CHARACTERISTICS
LEISURE These people listen for pleasure. They tend to be relaxed; not intense. They must be interested in the topic to listen carefully.
INCLUSIVE These listeners comprehend the facts without being given a lot of details. They process the information quickly and effectively. They want to be involved in the communication process.
STYLISTIC Nonverbal impressions are important to this style of listener. They give attention to images and appearances. The qualifications of the speaker are important.
TECHNICAL These listeners tend to ignore the emotion in communication. They are interested in procedures, research, and how we communicate.
EMPATHETIC

The purpose of these listeners is to help the speaker in some way. They tend to focus on the feelings behind the message.

NON-CONFORMIST These listeners look critically at the speaker and message. They evaluate and look for inconsistencies and problems.

Handout #4 - Points for Good Listening

STOP TALKING

CONCENTRATE ON THE SPEAKER

PUT THE SPEAKER AT EASE

REMOVE DISTRACTION

EMPATHIZE WITHT HE SPEAKER

BE PATIENT

HOLD YOUR TEMPER

GO EASY ON ARGUMENTS AND CRITICISMS

ASK QUESTIONS

STOP TALKING

MAKE EYE CONTACT

Handout #5 - "I" Messages

"YOU" MESSAGES

Orders, commands, blaming, or name-calling

EXAMPLE:

"You are always late. Why can't you be on time? That is so irresponsible."

"I" MESSAGES

Tells how a behavior impacts us.

Describes our response and does not evaluate their behavior.

Requires that we reveal our feelings.

EXAMPLE:

"When I am expecting someone to pick me up and they are an hour late, I am both angry and worried."

When (behavior)___________________________________, I feel (impact of behavior) _____________________________, because (explanation)______________________.

Handout #6 - Case Studies

Choose a partner. First make a "YOU" MESSAGE for the situation. Now change it to an "I" MESSAGE.

Table 8. 
YOUR MOM ALWAYS MAKES YOU TAKE YOUR YOUNGER BROTHER OR SISTER WITH YOU TO THE HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL GAMES.
YOUR PARENTS EXPECT YOU TO BE HOME AT TWELVE O'CLOCK AND ALL YOUR FRIENDS GET TO STAY OUT UNTIL ONE O'CLOCK.
YOUR FRIEND NEVER HAS TIME TO HELP YOU WITH ALGEBRA BUT ALWAYS EXPECTS YOUR HELP WITH CHEMISTRY.
YOUR LITTLE BROTHER JUST TOOK YOUR NEW JACKET AND GOT INK ON A SLEEVE.
YOUR GIRLFRIEND/BOYFRIEND LAUGHED BECAUSE YOU GOT A "D" ON YOUR MIDTERM.
A FRIEND BORROWED YOUR FAVORITE SHIRT AND HAS FAILED TO RETURN IT.
YOUR TEACHER KEEPS SAYING YOU ARE LAZY AND NEVER STUDY, BUT YOU ARE REALLY TRYING TO LEARN.
AN ACQUAINTANCE BORROWED SOME MONEY AND HAS NOT PAID IT BACK.

Handout #7 - Reflective Listening

REFLECTIVE LISTENING

1. Listeners notice the feelings expressed by the speaker.

2. Listeners reflect the feelings back to the speaker.

3. No judgement is made about the feelings.

4. Options are given.

Homework Assignment

Using "I" Messages - practice

1. Practice using "I" messages with your parents, your siblings and friends. Be prepared to tell the results of your experiences in class.

Parent-Teen Activity to Improve Communication

Purpose:

To help parents and teenagers better understand how they communicate with each other.

Supplies:

Paper and pencil for each member.

Directions:

1. Have the teenager complete the following exercise. There are no right or wrong answers. The most helpful answer to each question is your indication of the way you feel at the moment. Answer with always, sometimes, never.

2. After finishing the exercise, discuss the responses. Ask the teenager why he chose the answers he did.

A S N Do your parents wait until you are through talking before "having their say?"

A S N Does your family do things as a group?

A S N Does your family talk things over with each other?

A S N Do your parents seem to respect your opinion?

A S N Do you discuss personal problems with your parents?

A S N Do they show an interest in your activities and interests?

A S N Do you discuss sexual matters with your parents?

A S N Do your parents tend to talk to you as if you were much younger than you actually are?

A S N Do your parents trust you?

A S N Do you find it hard to say what you feel at home?

A S N Do you hesitate to disagree with either of your parents?

A S N Do your parents have confidence in your abilities?

A S N Do they really try to see your side of things?

A S N Do they really try to make you feel better when you're down in the dumps?

A S N Do they explain reasons for the decisions they make concerning you?

A S N Do you help your parents to understand by telling them how you think and feel?

What worries me most about my future is ____________________________.

The main weakness of American parents is ___________________________.

The most difficult thing to discuss with my parents is _________________ ____________________________________________________________________.

What I want most out of life is _______________________________________.

References

Couch, M., Flynn, J., Gross, P., and Thibodeaux, L. (N.D.). It's Up To Me. Texas A&M University, College Station, TX: Texas Agricultural Extension Service.

Godke, M.S. and Munson, M.K.(August, 1986). Leadership Skills You Never Outgrow, Urbana-Champaign, IL: Cooperative Extension Service, University of Illinois.

Goodbar, K. (1990). Communication: Listening and Feedback. In Archer, T., Elder, J.,

Goodbar, K., Hodson, J., and Kelon, S. (October, 1990). Teen Community Leadership College. 2nd Edition. Shelby County OH: Ohio Cooperative Extension Service.

Miller, J.L. (1985). Dare To Be You, 2nd Edition. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University.

Developing Skills for Youthful Leaders

Developing Skills for Youthful Leaders is a six part curriculum designed for volunteers who work with young people. It is designed to enable teachers to apply a systematic approach to training youth for leadership roles in schools and neighborhoods. Each module includes training materials and activities that can be used for leadership education for students and youth groups. Partial funding for the development of these modules was provided by The Junior Woman's Club of Milton, Florida.

Modules:

Module I - You Can Be A Leader

Module II - Knowing and Accepting Yourself

Module III - Being Your Best

Module IV - Communicating With Others

Module V - Listening Skills to Improve Communication

Module VI - Making a Decision

Developed by:

Elizabeth B. Bolton, Professor

Community Development

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Gainesville, FL 32611-0310

Assistance provided by:

John R. Rutledge, Former Associate Professor

4-H Youth Specialist

University of Florida

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Gainesville, FL 32611-0520

Linda Bowman and Linda Barber

Santa Rosa County Cooperative Extension

Milton, FL 32570-8944

Footnotes

1.

This document is FCS9092, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original print publication date 1993. Revised and published on EDIS March 2006. Reviewed July 2009 and March 2013. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Elizabeth B. Bolton, Professor, Community Development, John R. Rutledge, Former Associate Professor, 4 H- Youth Specialist, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611-0310, Linda Bowman, Family Consumer Sciences Agent and Linda Barber, Former 4-H Agent, Santa Rosa County Cooperative Extension Service, Milton, FL.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.