Title should go here - Employability Initiative, University of Edinburgh

Graduate Attributes:
Food for thought
• ‘Talking is power’
• ‘Listening is caring’
• ‘I like to listen. I have learned a great
deal from listening carefully. Most
people never listen.’- Ernest Hemingway
By the end of this session we will have…
• Tried to define what effective listening means and
reflected on different ways effective listening can help
us now and after we graduate
• Discussed how (or whether!) the wider context
impacts on our ability to listen
• Identified and discussed potential barriers to listening
(’listening killers’),
• Identified personal objectives for the development of
listening skill as part of our Graduate Attributes
Listening: what is it?
• Working in pairs or small groups, try to define
what listening is
• Why is effective listening an important skill for
a university student AND a graduate? In small
groups, think of at least 6 reasons. You may
refer to the university experience as a whole
and your specific discipline
• Put your ideas into the inner circle of your
‘listening model’ sheet
Some definitions:
• To listen: “Give one’s attention to a sound: take notice
of and act on what someone says; respond to advice
or a request; (listen for or listen out for) make an
effort to hear something; be alert and ready to hear
something” (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/listen)
• ‘a process of receiving, constructing meaning from,
and responding to spoken and/or nonverbal
messages” (Bentley and Bacon 1996, p.1, definition
accepted by the International Listening Association)
• What is the difference between listening and hearing?
The wider context
• Think of the context of the world we live
in (our personal life, work, study): how
do we communicate, what are the main
issues, challenges?
• Working in a small group (preferably 4),
fill the outer circle with key words and
phrases that describe this context
• Does the context
impact on our ability
to listen well? To
what extent?
Your own experience
• Think of a situation when you were truly
listened to. How did you feel? How did you
know you were listened to?
• Think of an opposite situation: you were not
listened to. How did you feel? How could you
• What could have been done to improve this
Levels of listening
• How can our listening evolve and
become deeper? Briefly discussing in
pairs, try to identify and jot down
listening ‘levels’ from the most ‘surface’
one to a ‘deep’ one
• Compare and discuss your ideas with
the pair sitting closest to you
Let’s practise!
Barriers to listening or listening ‘killers’
• What are the potential barriers to
effective listening?
• What are ‘filters’?
When listening, have you ever been…
A mind reader?
A rehearser?
A filterer?
A dreamer?
An identifier?
A comparer?
What have I learned?
1. Look back at your initial expectations
2. How will you apply the learning from
this session? (academic study,
work/career, social/community
3. What else would you like to learn
or/and know?
Useful links
• Julian Treasure, 5 ways to listen better, speaking at TED
conference, Edinburgh, Scotland:
• Listening and interpersonal skills tutorial