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EXERCISES





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1. Form the class into a circle of about twenty people (more than one circle if necessary). Have the first person give his or her name and mention something he or she likes. Then have the second person tell about himself or herself and the first person. Then have the third tell about himself or herself and the first two. For example, the third person says: I'm Sally and I like strawberries and he's Jack and he likes guitar; and she's Pam and she likes backpacking. Keep this up until you have gone around the entire circle.

2. Make a tape recording of yourself either in an informal conversation or in a formal speech situation. Play the tape and write an analysis of the factors that make your speech hard to listen to. Then make a list of suggestions on how you might improve your speaking.

3. Write a description (i.e., a case study) of an experience in which a breakdown in listening played an important part. Then write an analysis of how the problem might be avoided or the situation improved in the future.

4. As you listen to a speech given in your class, try to outline it, including (1) the thesis idea, (2) the main points, and (3) the types of supporting materials used (identify and evaluate them). Then compare your outline to that of the speaker.

5. Practice listening to very difficult or unfamiliar information, applying the suggestions in this chapter (i.e., paying attention, listening for the main points, using the "spare time," developing empathic listening).

6. Write a paragraph of factual information. Have one person read it to the class after three students have left the room. Call one student in and read the paragraph again, then have this student try to repeat it from memory to another who left, who in turn will repeat it to the third. Tape-record this if possible. Analyze the way the original message gets changed.

7. Analyze a television commercial, a political speech, or an informal conversa­tion for the use and misuse of materials supporting the person's ideas (i.e.. analogy, example, statistics, and testimony). Write an evaluation of their effec­tiveness.

8. Have a two-person conversation (dyadic encounter) with someone you choose from your class. Try to find out more about each other than the superficialities of hometown, major subjects, and such. Then (if you agree to beforehand) have each person write a short description of the other person in each dyad and reproduce a copy of each description for each member of the class. This will motivate you to listen carefully to each other, and will help class members to get to know more about each other.

9. In a group discussion, either in class or elsewhere, try to test your listening by restating or paraphrasing a point that has been stated but that you are not sure you understand. You may also try to summarize the main points that have been brought out in the discussion, both to help orient you and the other group members to what the group has already accomplished and to see how well you have been listening to the progress of the discussion.

10. In a discriminative listening situation, try (really try) as often as possible to apply the suggestions offered in this chapter. After a reasonable length of time (e.g., a month) evaluate whether or not this has improved your listening ability.

11. Take the following listening IQ test as an informal way of testing your own estimate of your listening ability. Answer each question by circling the answer that most nearly describes your typical listening behavior.

1. When listening for pleasure I find myself daydreaming and not really paying attention,

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

2. In conversations I find myself tuning out the speaker.

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

3- In conversations I find that I miss important points that the other person has made.

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

4. I use questions that help me fill in on points I miss while I am not paying attention to a speaker.

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

5. I feel that listening is too much work; I enjoy talking more than listening,

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

6. When called on in class I ask the teacher to repeat the question,

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

7. After receiving instructions on a job or assignment, I do not understand how to do the task because of faulty listening,

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

8. In a group discussion I find that I make a comment that has already been made but that I did not hear,

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

9. I draw doodles and other designs or earn' on side conversations while listening to another person,

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

10. When several people are talking (at a party, for example) I simultaneously listen to conversations other than the one I am engaged in.

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

11. I pretend to be listening when I'm not.

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

12. In listening situations I find myself daydreaming,

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

13. On examinations I do poorly on questions drawn from class lectures,

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

14. When listening, I find myself worrying about my personal problems.

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

15. I become drowsy when listening to someone else talk.

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

16. When I listen to someone, I evaluate his or her appearance, delivery, dress, point of view, etc.

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

17. When I'm introduced to someone, I forget his or her name within one minute.

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

18. When a speaker uses an example, I seldom think about whether the example is a typical case that proves the point at issue,

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

19. When a speaker uses statistics, I am too overwhelmed to determine whether they are valid or not.

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

20. When a speaker cites or quotes someone else, I don't try to estimate the quoted person's motives or expetness.

a. Strongly agree d. Disagree

b. Agree e. Strongly disagree

c. Uncertain

Give yourself one point for each a answer, 2 for b, 3 for c, 4 for d, and 5 for e. You should have a score somewhere between 20 and 100. Although we do not have norms for this test, the middle score numerically would be a 60. We would expect, however, that most people would rate themselves so that their scores would average higher than 60. Keep in mind that most people tend to overestimate their listening ability. Look back over the test. Do you see any areas for improvement?

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