Understanding Interpersonal communication
Creating Characters Who Listen
At this point in the course, you will have noticed that there are many ways to demonstrate interpersonal communication skills. Similarly, there are also many ways to implement effective listening skills during a conversation. This Application challenges you to consider the myriad of ways you can exhibit listening skills. You will demonstrate your knowledge by constructing a conversation between two characters that will not only show off their listening skills, but will also demonstrate the impact of listening skills in a relationship.
Questions about this assignment? Post them in the Contact the Instructor area on the left navigation bar. That way, everyone in the class will see, and benefit from, the Instructor’s response.
To prepare for this Application:Read Chapters 8, 13, and 15 in Composing Relationships: Communication in Everyday Life. In each scenario, how do the characters demonstrate effective listening skills? How does active listening impact the flow of the conversation and the relationship between the participants?Review Chapter 6 in Understanding Interpersonal Communication: Making Choices in Changing Times. What are the main concepts and terms regarding effectively listening?Review the Effective Listening document in the Learning Resources. How does this story demonstrate the concepts and terms of effective listening skills?Consider situations that make it difficult to listen. What elements about the situation make it difficult to listen? How could you change the situation to make listening easier?Imagine a conversation between two effective listeners. What would effective listeners do in a conversation? What are the characteristics of an effective listener?
The assignment:Write a 2-page dialogue with two characters having a conversation demonstrating effective listening skills. Your dialogue must also include the following:2–3 specific listening terms that describe the listening skills being demonstrated. These terms must be labeled in brackets, as demonstrated in the example story in the Effective Listening document. Include page citations from your texts for each term in brackets.Identification of at least two listening skills described in Chapter 6 of Understanding Interpersonal Communication: Making Choices in Changing Times. These skills should also labeled in brackets with page citations.
This is an example from the resources area:
Jane saw Betty come into the café’s other door. “Hi Betty,” Jane called out, loudly enough to be heard over the noise. She also waved her hand to help Betty follow the sound of her voice. Betty waved back and walked over quickly.
“I have so much to tell you!” Betty said. “Let’s get a quiet table in the back.” Betty wanted to be sure to minimize environmental distractions. Jane agreed, as she wanted to be well prepared to listen too.
Jane and Betty sat across from each other so they could have maximum eye contact. They both ordered just tea and cake so there would not be too many distractions [reduction in environmental noise].
“So tell me all about Timothy,” Jane said. “I want to hear everything. I only heard from Edith that this Timothy was living with you now.” She leaned forward, picked up her tea, and opened her eyes so Betty would know it was her turn to talk [silence].
“Well, I hardly know where to begin,” Betty said slowly to indicate to Jane that she needed some time to organize her thoughts [preparation to converse with a time-centered listening style]. “He’s the most loving and playful guy I’ve ever met.” Betty paused, not wanting to look like a talkaholic.
“Um-hmm,” Jane said [dialogue enhancer]. She smiled and said it softly so that she didn’t interrupt Betty, but encouraged her to continue.
“Sometimes he forgets and leaves his muddy footprints on the carpet,” Betty said. “And he leaves hair everywhere. But I think we’ll get over all that.”
Jane set down her tea and tried to visualize this to make sure she understood. When she didn’t, she took in a breath, indicating that she would like to speak. “I don’t understand. Let me see if I heard you right,” Jane said, preparing to use her active listening skills. “He tracks mud on the carpet and leaves hair all over, and you don’t mind?” Jane was careful to repeat the information in her own words so she could be sure she understood [paraphrasing].
“That’s right,” Betty said, so Jane would know that she had indeed heard correctly [feedback]. “I guess love is blind.”
“Well, maybe” Jane said, acknowledging Betty’s statement. “But if my Frederick did that, I would be really angry.” [nonjudgmental feedback]
“Well, I don’t know if we can really compare Timothy and Frederick,” Betty said, laughing.
“What do you mean by that?” Jane said with just a little edge in her voice to let Betty know she didn’t think it was funny [defensive listening]. She didn’t want to judge too quickly and cut off the communication.
“Well, Frederick’s not an animal, I suppose,” Betty said.
“He most certainly is not!” Jane said emphatically so Betty would understand that she was a little upset [defensive listening]. “But it sounds like Timothy might be.”
“Well of course he is. I love animals. You know that,” Betty said. She was starting to wonder what was up with Jane and was hoping Jane would remember their previous conversations [recalling].
“But all of your other boyfriends have been so gentle and refined,” [recalling] [making inferences] Jane said to let Betty know that she did recall their past interactions.
Betty leaned across the table and took Jane’s hand to let her know she was serious. [people-centered listening] “Jane, I don’t think you understand. Timothy is a Saint Bernard. He’s my new dog.”
George saw Faith walking across the hallway her tears wet as she walked hastily. “Hello Faith!”, George cordially greeted her from behind expecting her to turn and say hi to him enthusiastically since they had not met all week long.
“Hi George!” Faith responded in a whimper and rather officially as tears slowly rolled down her visage leaving traces of mascara. This was rather bizarre owing to the fact that they were close friends and hardly referred to each other on a first name basis leave alone official greetings
George immediately gave her a hug. “Everything………………….
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