Chapter 7: Listening

In this section, we will explain the importance of listening.


7.1.1: The Importance of Listening

If you were to break up the various types of communication you use throughout your day, listening would make up about 42 – 60 percent. Problematically, many people engage in passive versus active listening, which can cause miscommunication and have a negative effect on relationships. Listening is an important skill to cultivate, both personally and professionally. In this chapter, we will explain the importance of listening, the stages of the listening process, listening styles, some common listening barriers, and ways to improve our listening skills. 

Image 1: © Barry Deutsch/, printed with permission for use in Interpersonal Communication Abridged Textbook (I.C.A.T.)
(Image: © Barry Deutsch/, printed with permission for use in I.C.A.T)


Essential Questions:

  • How does the listening process work?
  • What are some of the challenges to effective listening?
  • How can we improve our listening, and why might it be important to do so?

Successful students will be able to:

  • explain the importance of listening
  • differentiate between five stages of the listening process
  • identify four listening styles
  • describe six barriers to effective listening
  • demonstrate ways to improve listening in all stages of the process
  • recognize contextual influences on listening
  • recognize the value of reflection on listening and relationships

  • Sections 7.0: Interpersonal Communication Abridged Textbook (I.C.A.T.); Central New Mexico Community College; 2019; CC BY NC SA 4.0
  • Sections 7.1.1 – 7.5.3: adapted from Communication in the Real World: An Introduction to Communication Studies; University of Minnesota; 2016; CC BY NC SA 4.0
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