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How Listening Skills Are Vital Communication Components

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Listening is a vital component of oral communication, a component much neglected in the study of human communication.

The listening process takes about half of the time we spend in communicating with others through reading, writing and speaking.

Whether we are speaking or are reading aloud, listening commands automatic attention; otherwise communication through reading or speaking cannot be said to have taken place.

And yet, listening is hardly ever a mention in the discussion of the oral communication process.

 Listening requires sounds or words

Listening is not just a matter of hearing sounds or spoken words, for it is possible to hear sound accidentally or hear what a person says without taking in the meaning if one is not listening to him.

Listening is what you do deliberately, not by accident. It is much more than learning, for, it involves an effort on individuals’ part to pay attention to what is said or heard with the view to taking in its meaning.

It is an attention paid with avid ears in an attempt to hear and decode properly information contained in oral communication.

Listening requires language learning

Listening is a pre-requisite and the most important factor in language learning. It is an obvious fat that a person who is born deaf will also be dumb because he cannot he cannot learn to speak language.

Indeed, in order to learn a human language, one must be able to hear the distinctive sounds and utterances in that language.

Besides, good listening is very crucial to the acquisition of knowledge from the people in one’s environment because one listens most of the time to gather information from peer groups, friends and people in the society in general.

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Oral communication requires listening

At school, most of the knowledge one receive from teachers and lecturers in the various subjects of the curriculum is through oral communication and this demands good listening skills.

Good listening skills must be developed in order to get the best from lectures, radio-talks television, news-cast, debate, motion films, conversations and drama productions.

Listening facilitates receptive and productive competence

Through listening, student’s receptive and productive competence is facilitated because new vocabularies are acquired, basic grammatical rules and usage of the language are enhanced and the student is more positively disposed to receive much from lectures and oral discussions.

In order to listen and comprehend what is heard in social and academic context, the listener must have functioning cars.

He should be able to concentrate and think along with the speaker. In addition, he should be able to anticipate what the speaker is about to say and relate it to what he said before.

Listening improves vocabulary and speech pattern understanding.

A possession of a wide range of vocabulary related to the subject being discussed as well as the ability to recognize general speech pattern and major speech divisions in language will serve as an advantage towards the understanding of the spoken discourse.

Above all, it is important that the listener be interested in what the speaker is saying.

It is equally important to note that listening comprehension is hampered when concentration diminishes, usually due to interruption, fatigue, lack of motivation or interest.

Road-blocks are created to listening when the speaker digresses quite often in the course of his speech and when he speaks above the level of the listener, using difficult vocabulary item and complex sentence structures.

Lectures and speakers at times have a lot to say. They attempt to develop a theme, topic on an idea by saying as many things as they can about it within a limited time.

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What good listeners do is try to get the gist on the main points of s statement. Lecturers convey main ideas by the following:

Announcing the theme in the title of the lecture

Sometimes, the title of the lecture may be indicative of the main idea of what will be discussed. This is however not always so, for at times, a lecturer may want to captivate you by giving you a title that may, at first not seem relevant to the lecture.

Calling attention to the theme in lectures

The speaker may deliberately call attention tp main ideas in lectures through various means and transitional devices such as: Let’s go to the main point…, the crucial issue we are grapping with is…, the second point…., the point I am trying to make is …. In other words, the issue is …, etc.

Putting major points on the Chalkboard

At times, lecturers write out outlines of the major points as he delivers his lectures.

Constant repetition

Some lecturers organize their lectures in such a way as to give room for repetition of some main points in various ways during lectures without consciously drawing attention to them. Students should know that emphatic points are relevant points.

Identifying speech pattern

Students should know that different lecturers have different styles of delivering the lectures. The most common one is for the main point to be given first and be followed by examples, illustrations and/or supporting details.

In some situations, the lecturers may prefer to start with illustrations, examples and details in order to captivate or put you in suspense before giving the main points.

A good student is always poised, not only to listen to main ideas but to grasp detailed fact whenever he listens to lectures or discussions, so as to be able to comprehend the definitions of certain terms used and the examples given as illustrations.

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 Conclusion

Other listening skills expected of students include: ability to make a crucial analysis of what is said, noting where errors of contraction or prejudice lie, if indeed there; ability to discern the difference between facts and opinions; and the ability to recognize ideas that are implied, though not overly stated in the speech.

Sometimes, listeners respond wrongly to oral questions. For example, if a listener’s response to the question ‘What is your name?’ is ‘I am hungry’ one may be surprised, amuse or even puzzled at the listener’s behavior.

Some people may doubt whether the listener really understands the speaker while others may have the impression that the listener is stubborn, inattentively or deaf.

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