I give the following survey to my speech students at the beginning of the semester, prefacing our initial discussion of the communication process. Try this for yourself and then, perhaps, give this to your students. You can tally your results below!
How Well Do You Self-Monitor?
True or False
1. _______ I find it hard to imitate the behavior of other people.
2. _______ I guess I do put on a show to impress or entertain people.
3. _______ I would probably make a good actor or actress.
4. _______ I sometimes appear to be experiencing deeper emotions than I truly am.
5. _______ In a group of people, I rarely am the center of attention.
6. _______ In different situations and with different people, I often act very differently.
7. _______ I can argue only for ideas I already believe in.
8. _______ To be liked, I tend to be what people expect of me rather than who I am.
9. _______ I may deceive people by being friendly when I really dislike them.
10. ______ I am always the person I appear to be.
Scoring: For questions 1, 5, and 7 give yourself 1 point if you answered False. For the rest of the questions, give yourself 1 point if you answered true.
Add up your points: 7 and above = high self-monitoring; 3 or below = low self-monitoring
Self-monitoring is observing and regulating one’s own behavior.
Some people – like models, politicians, actors – are very aware of the effects of their appearance and behavior. They regulate themselves to an extreme degree, and are considered high monitors. Other people seem to have no sense at all of how they appear to other people or what effects their behavior has. They are considered low monitors.
Most people are somewhere in the middle. Some self-monitoring ability is definitely preferable to none. It is healthy and shows that you recognize the importance of other people.
We spend about 70% of our waking day practicing one of the four forms of communication. Within that 70%, we spend 9% writing (bloggers may have a higher percentage!), 16% reading something, 30% speaking, and 45% listening. It is ironic that the communication skill we utilize the most is the skill least taught in school. While we certainly may not need as much classroom time on listening as the other three, listening tips would benefit all aspects of students’ lives. Here’s a discussion I hold early in the year with my speech classes. The percentages are taken from a handout I received in college! Let me know what your thoughts are on this ~
Do you get irritated when people interrupt? Or are you the one doing most of the interrupting? Studies show that there may be significant differences between the sexes when it comes to stopping a speaker in mid-sentence. Do you agree?
When a man and a woman are talking, for example, researchers say the man makes about 96 percent of the interruptions. Men appear to have a few other gender-specific habits. Some researchers say that men, for instance, have been taught since childhood to become problem solvers. As a result, men tend to enter a conversation too quickly, and usually with a ready answer. They fail to draw out the speaker with questions or to listen for more information before jumping to a conclusion. Do you think these are generalized stereotypes or is there merit to this?
Deborah Tannen, author of a popular book on conversational styles called You Just Don’t Understand, states that most women use “rapport talk” as a way of establishing connections and relationships. From childhood, she writes, women tend to listen for things they have in common with others. Men, on the other hand, use “report talk” to preserve their independence and maintain status. They do this primarily by showing knowledge and skill, and by holding center stage through storytelling or joking. From childhood, men learn to use talking as a way to get and keep attention. Consequently, they have a harder time learning to be good listeners. Hmmm . . . more food for thought.
Regardless of gender differences, Grading Girl contemplates what can distort our listening skills ~
Filters That Can Distort Our Listening:
Attitude (pessimist or optimist)
A good listener will . . .
Ask for explanations
Paraphrase the message
Summarize the message
Use non-verbal feedback
Now it’s time to look at yourself? Do you listen or do you just hear? Take GG’s little quiz to rate yourself as a listener ~
Answer “always,” “almost always,” “sometimes,” “almost never,” and “never”
~ Do you keep an open mind about the person speaking, and do you listen objectively?
~ Do you think about what is being said and how you might use this information in the future?
~ Do you concentrate on the speaker’s message and not on personal habits such as poor enunciation, nervous gestures, or poor grooming?
~ Do you find yourself interrupting others?
~ Do you tune out from time to time and daydream?
~ Do you tune out to think of what you are going to say next?
~ Do you look directly into the speaker’s eyes and tune out what is happening around you?