Chapter 5: Listening

5.7 Summary, Discussion, References


Prior to this chapter, you may not have thought of listening as a skill or even something that we can improve upon. Hopefully, you now have a deeper understanding of the role that effective listening plays in our professional, personal and even public lives. Listening is an intentional act that requires effort on our part and respect for others. It is also beneficial for us to understand others’ listening styles so that we can be more effective in how we speak with or address them. Listening critically requires us to suspend our judgment of others or others’ ideas and understand their point of view before coming to our own conclusions. Indeed, listening is an inherently ethical act in which we recognize and acknowledge one another.

Discussion Questions

  1. How does listening behavior affect the quality of our personal relationships? If someone that you are in a relationship with changes the way they listen to you, how might that affect the relationship in a positive way?
  2. After reading this chapter, in what ways will you consider improving your own listening behaviors?
  3. In what ways does critical listening impact our professional relationships?

Key Terms

  • ambushing
  • critical listening
  • defensive listening
  • ethical listening
  • insulated listening
  • listening vs. hearing
  • listening styles
  • multitasking
  • insensitive listening
  • physical noise
  • psychological noise
  • physiological noise
  • pseudolistening
  • selective listening
  • semantic noise
  • stage hogging


Bank, J. (2009). Cost of illegal immigrants. Ask Factcheck. Retrieved from

Cooperman, S. & Lull, J. (2012). Public speaking: The evolving art (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

DeVito, J. A. (2000). The elements of public speaking (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.

Hamilton, J. (2008, October 2). Think you’re multitasking? Think again. Retrieved from

Jarvis, T. (2009, November). How to talk so people really listen: Four ways to make yourself heard. O Magazine. Retrieved from:

NCA. (1999). NCA credo for ethical communication [PDF file]. Retrieved from

Watson, K., Barker, L., and Weaver, J. (1995). The listening styles profile (LSP-16): Development and validation of an instrument to assess four listening styles. International Journal of Listening,9(1). Retrieved from:

Components of some images were retrieved from Pixaby and were CC0.

All images not credited otherwise were created by H. Rayl and are available under the CC-BY 4.0 license.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Introduction to Public Communication by Indiana State University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book