Listening Effectively in Groups: Critical, Selective, Active & Empathetic Listening

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  • 0:01 Listening Effectively…
  • 0:56 Types of Effective Listening
  • 4:09 Listening and Group Size
  • 5:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Being an effective listener allows relationship building and leads to increased productivity in the workplace. To form an environment for effective listening, you need to know the best group sizes and the four types of effective listening.

Listening Effectively in Groups

The ability to listen effectively is when a message is heard in its entirety and construed into meaningful messages. The ability to be an effective listener is an essential skill that allows relationship building, which can lead to increased productivity. It is important to be able to listen to everything a speaker has to say and give relevant feedback. Non-aggressive questioning should be used to further investigate. Lastly, it is important to summarize and repeat back what is said to ensure accuracy.

There are four types of effective listening that will be discussed through the patients of Dr. Harold Smith. Dr. Harold Smith is a counselor and runs anger management group therapy sessions in the city. He depends upon the ability of his client group members to listen effectively in order for the therapy to be helpful. Let's take a look at each of Dr. Smith's clients to better understand the different types of effective listening.

Types of Effective Listening

Selective, critical, active and empathetic are the four types of effective listening.

Dr. Smith's first client, Sally, uses selective listening to allow her to focus on just the important information, while ignoring the non-pertinent information. Sally was listening to Dr. Smith ramble on about how his wife makes him mad almost every day. Dr. Smith said she made him furious the other day when she threw away his prized trophy from college track. He then went on and on about all of the track achievements he had since he was born. Most of the group just rolled their eyes and tuned out Dr. Smith. Sally was able to ignore Dr. Smith's track achievement lectures but was able to relate to why Dr. Smith got angry at his wife and the correct way to react. Dr. Smith noted that he talked his anger out with his wife and was able to avoid a massive temper tantrum.

Chris is another member of the anger management group. He prefers to use critical listening, which is investigating the speaker's message by considering its appropriateness and clarity. In this type of effective listening, the individual is able to think and analyze the information presented to offer quality feedback and discussion. Chris likes to further analyze the anger issues that each member discusses during group time. He likes to act like he is also a doctor and offers his own feedback regarding what he thinks each member should do to avoid blowing their top. Chris told Sally that based on her love of exercise he thinks she should use yoga and deep breathing exercises to avoid anger explosions.

Abe is the newest member of the group, and he prefers active listening, which focuses on the speaker and uses restating or repeating as part of the process to understand the information. In active listening, the receiver of the message is able to translate the information into their own words, check for accuracy and provide feedback. They also provide good advice and ask open-ended questions. Abe always prefers to repeat back to Dr. Smith what information he has given the group. For example, Dr. Smith told the group to not respond immediately and take a deep breath. Abe said, 'If I understand you correctly, Dr. Smith, I should pause, take a deep breath and then calmly respond when something happens to make me very angry.'

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