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Tips for Practicing Listening

What do I listen to?

People
Classmates
Teachers
Friends
Family members
Supervisors
Co-workers
Business associates
Others Lectures
Presentations
Instructions
Announcements
Television
Movies
Radio


How do I listen?

Try to get the main idea
Take notes
Active listening
Seek clarification
Ask questions when appropriate
Respond appropriately
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Win With Empathic Listening

In the workplace, reaching a win/win resolution is often the goal. A huge step toward winning is to listen empathetically. The story of the Titanic could have had a happy ending if the captain had listened to the radio message warning of icebergs in the area. But he ignored the problem by not listening.

In conversations, a way to win is to listen. When he was a U.S. Senator, Lyndon Johnson had a plaque on his office wall that read, "You ain't learnin' nothing when you're talking."

Listening is an important skill that many of us take for granted. Have you ever explained a problem to someone and received an answer that showed that he or she didn't understand the problem at all?

A big part of listening goes beyond getting the main point and drawing conclusions. Listening empathically, or with feelings, means putting yourself in the talker's position without getting emotionally involved.

Empathic listening precedes effective feedback because it goes to the root of the concern: the other person's perspective. Listening only to obtain information and form opinions means missing much of what the speaker is saying--the emotions and intensity that make up real communication.

For business, technical and personal problems, anything that provokes frustration or worry is emotion-laden by nature. Thus, any problem is better handled with an empathic approach.

Questions such as "What makes you feel that way?" allow the talker to go in the most comfortable direction, though not necessarily the direction you would have chosen. By giving the other person free rein, it's easier for you to get into his or her shoes.

A good habit is to ask "one more question" before giving feedback. The answer you receive gives you a more realistic picture of what the talker really means. Your question might be, "What other factors are involved?" or "What other elements might influence the way we handle this problem?" or "What actions have you taken so far?"

Charles Mayo, founder of the Mayo Clinic, expressed it this way: "I try to imagine the kind of doctor I'd like if I were you, and try to be that doctor." (Fortunately, my own doctor seems to have that philosophy as well.)

By contrast, if you look at your watch, fidget, or look anxious as the talker is relating a problem, he or she may leave out key details. If you give the other person the impression that he or she is just wasting your time, you're not likely to solve any problems. Have you ever been listening to someone who suddenly says, "I can tell this is a bad time.... We'll talk about this later"?

Instead, show the other person that the most important thing for you at that moment is to listen. Tell your secretary to hold your calls, or close your door, or tell the talker, "Take as much time as you need." With these actions, you're more likely to get the details that go beyond the main problem and help you find solutions.

If you're the manager, your employee may neglect important information because of your higher position. Therefore you must show that the talker's ideas are valuable and that you really want to hear what he or she has to say.

Come out from behind your desk and sit together to create a feeling of equality and comfort. This encourages full disclosure and puts the speaker in a more receptive frame of mind. Even pulling up a chair to the side of your desk to sit next to each other, rather than across the desk, helps reduce tension.

When someone—and this could be friend or family member as well as a co-worker—comes to you with a problem, your first response may be to provide advice or a solution; sometimes, however, all the other person wants is someone to listen. If you listen before advising, you're more likely to understand first. When you have a grasp of the situation, then you can offer suggestions.

Often, if you're listening empathetically, the talker solves his or her own problem. For example, have you ever told your problems to someone who just listened? Chances are, by the time you talked your way through it, you had actually come up with your own solution. Empathic listening encourages this to happen.

People problems are usually the most difficult to solve because of personal emotions. A sure way to win is to listen until resolution of the problem is achieved.
by Stephen Boyd

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Just Someone To Listen

In the information-sharing society in which we live, finding people who will listen is a challenge. In a New Yorker cartoon, a man at a bar says to several people around him, “I’d like to buy everyone a drink. All I ask in return is that you listen patiently to my shallow and simplistic views on a broad range of social and political issues.” He speaks for all of us in our desire to have someone listen.

Certainly the last thing most of us need in our busy lives is to spend a bigger chunk of time listening to people. But here are some suggestions on how you can maximize your time by giving your “ear” to people around you.

Get to your office l5 minutes earlier than usual and respond to emails and paperwork that does not involve interaction with people. Close the door so you are not disturbed. By concentrating on this first, you will get more done because you are not attempting to listen to others as you do this. When you finish, open the door or turn your chair to the open area of your environment and anyone who needs to see you will notice the visual ways you show you are available to listen.

A family version of this is to arrive in the kitchen early enough so that you are available as children and spouse get breakfast or prepare to leave for school or work. Sitting to have a cup of coffee (without your head in the newspaper) lets them know you are available to discuss family or personal matters.

Schedule listening time. You schedule lunch, getting your car serviced, and exercise time, so why not schedule listening time? Don’t call it “listening time” to people around you, but identify it for yourself by allowing more flexibility between appointments. Let’s say an appointment with this person or that meeting usually takes 30 minutes. Make it 45 minutes on your calendar. You are building in listening time with this change. Knowing you have more time will encourage you to ask another question or to say, “What else do we need to talk about?” when you would usually rise to make your exiting obvious.

Finally, commit to talk less and listen more. We all know people we don’t enjoy being with because they dominate the conversation by talking all the time. Don’t develop this reputation. Limit the number of times you make contributions in a social or business setting. This may seem mechanical at first, but literally keep track of the number of times you talk in a meeting or at a meal. You may be surprised how often you speak and how little you listen. Keeping track a few times will encourage you to concentrate on listening. If you find yourself talking too much, make a real effort to stop and ask an open question of another person. This will immediately place you in the listening mode.

When you just listen, people will believe you are a great conversationalist—even when you don’t say a word!
by Stephen Boyd
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Unit 12: Job History

CUT1

Eliz: Our guest today is Michael Epstein. Hello, Mike. Thank you for coming back to our program.
Epstein: Hello, again. It`s nice to be back.
Eliz: You said you`re a systems engineer at Advanced Technologies, is that correct?
Epstein: That`s right.
Eliz: What`s your background, Mike?
Epstein: I have a background in both engineering and business.
Eliz: I see. Where did you study engineering?
Epstein: At Stanford. I majored in Electrical Engineering.
Eliz: And when did you graduate?
Epstein: 1988. I graduated in 1988.
Eliz: I see. And what did you do after graduation?
Epstein: My first job was an engineer for a small company in San Francisco.
Eliz: And what were your responsibilities?
Epstein: I was a quality assurance engineer. I worked for them for just under two years.
Eliz: Why did you leave?
Epstein: I became more interested in the business side of things, so I decided to go back to school to get an MBA.
Eliz: That`s interesting, Mike. Let`s take a short break and then I`ll ask you some more questions.
Epstein: Sounds good.

Music



CUT 2


Eliz: I majored in Electrical Engineering.
Larry: My major was Electrical Engineering.(pause)
Eliz: My first job was an engineer.
Larry: In my first job I worked as an engineer.(pause)
Eliz: I worked for them for just under two years.
Larry: I worked for them for a little less than two years.(pause)
Eliz: I decided to go back to school to get my MBA.
Larry: I decided to go back for my MBA.(pause)

Music

CUT 3

Eliz: Welcome back. So you were saying, Mike, that you decided to get a business degree.
Epstein: That`s right.
Eliz: Did you go back to Stanford?
Epstein: Yes, I did. I was married at the time, and my wife was also working in San Francisco. So I didn`t want to leave the Bay Area.
Eliz: When did you get your MBA?
Epstein: In 1992.
Eliz: Then what?
Epstein: Well, I was looking for a position with a medium sized company. Advanced Technologies seemed like the right place for me.
Eliz: And now you are Senior Systems Engineer there.
Epstein: That`s right.
Eliz: Do you like your work?
Epstein: Yes, I do, very much.
Eliz: What do you do when you`re not working, Mike?
Epstein: Well, I enjoy golf, but I don`t get much time to play.

Music

CUT 4



Larry: Listen and repeat.
Eliz: Advanced Technologies.(pause for repeat)
Eliz: He works for Advanced Technologies.(pause for repeat)
Eliz: Who does Mr. Epstein work for?(pause for repeat)
Eliz: He works for Advanced Technologies.(pause for repeat)
Eliz: Stanford University.(pause for repeat)
Eliz: He went to Stanford University.(pause for repeat)
Eliz: What school did he go to?(pause for repeat)
Eliz: He went to Stanford University.(pause for repeat)
Eliz: Electrical Engineering.(pause for repeat)
Eliz: He majored in Electrical Engineering.(pause for repeat)
Eliz: What did he major in?(pause for repeat)
Eliz: He majored in Electrical Engineering.(pause for repeat)

Music

CUT 5


Eliz: Hello again. We`re here with Gary Engleton, our business language expert. Let`s look at our e-mail question, Gary.
Gary: All right.
[Computer keyboard sounds - tiếng đánh máy trên bàn máy điện tử]
Eliz: Our first question is, “How much vacation do Americans get?”
Gary: Most American workers get at least two weeks after a few years. In addition, most companies give their workers some holidays, like Christmas and July 4th, and some days of sick time. Some part time workers, however, are not paid for vacations.
Eliz: Thanks, Gary. Our second question is,"What is the average work day and work week?”
Gary: We generally think of an 8-hour day and 40-hour week as “normal.” High level executives, however, are usually expected to work as much as 50-60 hours a week because they are paid so much. But at start up companies, people work even more hours, sometimes for very little pay.
Eliz: Thanks for your comments.
Gary: My pleasure.
Eliz: Let`s take a short break.

Music

CUT 6

Eliz: A day when most people don`t go to work is called_____.(ding) (pause for answer)
Eliz: a holiday.
It`s called a holiday.(short pause)
Eliz: A new company is called _______.(ding) (pause for answer)
Eliz: a start-up company.
It`s called a start-up company.(short pause)
Eliz: The normal work day at an America company is_______.(ding) (short pause)
Eliz: eight hours.
The normal work day is eight hours.(short pause)

Music

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Unit 11: Do You Speak Spanish?

CUT 1


Max: Good morning Kathy. How are you today?
Kathy: Not bad. And you?
Max: Fine, just fine.
Kathy: Our guest today is Maria Alvarez
Max: Maria Alvarez? Her name is Spanish. Is she from Spain?
Kathy: No, she isn`t. She`s from the United States.
She`s American.

Music



CUT 2


Larry: Listen and Repeat.
Max: Her name ...is Maria Alvarez.(pause for repeat)
Max: Her name...is Spanish.(pause for repeat)
Max: Is she Spanish?(pause for repeat)
Max: No, she`s American.(pause for repeat)
Max: His name...is Pierre Dubois.(pause for repeat)
Max: His name...is French.(pause for repeat)
Max: Is he French?(pause for repeat)
Max: Yes, he is. He`s from Paris.(pause for repeat)


Music

CUT 3


Kathy: Now, it`s time for today`s interview. Our guest today is Maria Alvarez. Good morning, Ms. Alvarez.
Maria: Good morning. Please call me Maria.
Kathy: OK. Maria, where do you come from?
Maria: I come from San Jose.
Kathy: San Jose, California?
Maria: That`s right. San Jose, California.
Kathy: Your name is Spanish, isn`t it?
Maria: That`s right. Alvarez is a Spanish name.
My parents come from Mexico.
Max: Do you speak Spanish?
Maria: Yes, I do. I speak Spanish and English.
Kathy: Me too. I speak English and Spanish.
Max, do you speak Spanish?
Max: No, I don`t. I don`t speak Spanish.
Kathy: Our guest is Maria Alvarez.
We`ll talk more after our break.
This is New Dynamic English.


Music

CUT 4


Larry: Listen and repeat.(pause for repeat)
Max: Maria speaks Spanish.(pause for repeat)
Max: She speaks Spanish and English.(pause for repeat)
Maria: I speak Spanish and English.(pause for repeat)
Max: Kathy and Maria speak Spanish.(pause for repeat)
Kathy: We speak Spanish and English.(pause for repeat)
Max: I don`t speak Spanish.(pause for repeat)
Kathy: Max doesn`t speak Spanish.(pause for repeat)

Music

CUT 5


Kathy: Our guest today is Maria Alavarez. She comes from San Jose, California. Her parents come from Mexico.
Maria, do your parents speak English?
Maria: Yes, they do. My mother speaks Spanish and English.
Kathy: Does your father speak English?
Maria: Yes, a little. He usually speaks Spanish.
Kathy: We have time for a telephone call.[telephone ring - tiếng điện thoại reo]
Kathy: Hello. You`re on the air with New Dynamic English!



Caller: Hello. My name is Bit. I`m from Thailand. I have a question for Maria.
Maria: Yes, go ahead.
Caller: You`re from California, right?
Maria: That`s right.
Bit: In California, do people speak Spanish?
Maria: That`s a good question. Some people in California speak Spanish. Many people in California speak both Spanish and English.
Kathy: Bit, I have a question for you.
Bit: (nervous laughter) Ahh, for me? Ahh, okay.
Kathy: Do people in Thailand speak English?
Caller: In Thailand, people speak Thai, but some people also speak English.
Kathy: I see. Thank you.
Maria: Thank you for calling.
Kathy: Maria, thank you for coming on our show.
Maria: Thank you for inviting me.
Kathy: We hope to see you again.
Maria: Thank you. I`d like that.


Music

CUT 6

Larry: Listen and repeat.
Max: English.(Pause for repeat)
Max: Do you speak English?(Pause for repeat)
Maria: Yes, I do.(Pause for repeat)
Maria: I speak English.(Pause for repeat)
Max: Are you English?(Pause for repeat)
Maria: No, I`m not.(Pause for repeat)
Maria: I`m not English.(Pause for repeat)
Maria: I`m American.(Pause for repeat)
Max: Spanish.(Pause for repeat)
Max: Do you speak Spanish?(Pause for repeat)
Kathy: Yes, I do.(Pause for repeat)
Kathy: I speak Spanish.(Pause for repeat)
Max: Are you Spanish?(Pause for repeat)
Kathy: No, I`m not.(Pause for repeat)
Kathy: I`m not Spanish.(Pause for repeat)
Kathy: I`m American.(Pause for repeat)

Music

CUT 7


At the Tokyo Airport
Woman 1: Excuse me. Do you speak English?(short pause)
Woman 2: Yes, I do.(short pause)
Woman 1: Is this the bus to Yokohama?(short pause)
Woman 2: Yes, it is.(short pause)
Woman 1: Thank you.(short pause)
Woman 2: You`re welcome.(short pause) Woman 1: Are you from Yokohama?(short pause) Woman: No, I`m not.(short pause)
Woman 1: Where are you from?(short pause)
Woman 2: I`m from Korea.(short pause)


Larry: Listen and repeat.


Woman 1: Are you from Yokohama?(pause for repeat)
Woman 2: No, I`m not.(pause for repeat)
Woman 1: Where are you from?(pause for repeat)
Woman 2: I`m from Korea.(pause for repeat)
Woman 1: Really?(pause for repeat)

Music

CUT 8

Kent: This is the New Dynamic English Man on the street, Ken Moss. Today I`m standing in a children`s playground in Washington, D.C. Excuse me?
Barbara: Yes?
Kent: Are these your children?
Barbara: My children? Well, yes and no. I`m not their mother. But I do take care of them. I`m a childcare worker.
Kent: Oh, I see.
Barbara: Their parents are diplomats. They come from all over the world.
Kent: Oh, they`re so cute!
Barbara: Yes, aren`t they? Ying is from China. Mohammed is from Saudi Arabia. Hans and Frista come from Germany. And Michael is from Sierra Leone.
Kent: Sierra Leone? Where`s that?
Barbara: It`s in Africa.
Kent: I see. Do they all speak English?
Barbara: Yes, they do. They speak English as a second language. Ying speaks Chinese and English. Mohammed speaks Arabic and English. Hans and Krista speak German and English. And Michael speaks English and French.
Kent: Do you speak all those languages?
Barbara: No, I don`t. I only speak English. Oh excuse me! Hans, come back here! Hans, Hans... I have to go!
Kent: OK. Nice talking to you.

Music


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