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Selective Listening Examples




Effective interpersonal communication skills, which includes good questioning, listening and speaking skills, is one the vital elements of interpersonal intelligence. Selective listening will help you to either persuade or empathize with someone in variety of both personal and professional situations.
Selective Listening Examples
Selective Listening Examples

What is Selective Listening

It is listening to any one or more elements of the following communication elements

  1. Motives
  2. Emotions
  3. Words
You can remember it using MEW Mnemonic,

How to Listen Selectively

When you are listening selectively, imagine that you keep an imagivative filtering glass in front of you during listening and this glass filters either motives, emotions or words of the other party during communication. You decide which of these elements to filter to make your listening effective.

Selective Listening Examples

Example One: When a person is extremely angry, Listen to words and motives rather than getting carried away witht eh emotions that the person exhibit at that moment because in many instances the emotions portrayed by a person during anger is subconscious and he/she may not have control over it as it is a natural human behavior. By listening to only motives and words and ignoring the emotions will help you to resolve conflicts in a constructive manner.

Example Two: When a person is extremely happy, listen to motives, emotions and words and become an active listener by focusing on all these three listening elements.

Practice Selective Listening when you:


  1. Persuade someone
  2. empathize or sympathize with someone
  3. build rapport
  4. narrate stories or anecdotes
  5. after giving compliments to someone
  6. during assertive communication
  7. after you say say, "NO" politely to someone
  8. when you are giving/recieving feedback


Only a part of information is absorbed during selective listening. This could be due to various reasons such as noisy place, to many interruptions like phone calls, or low volume by the speaker, or disinterest from the listener. However, selective listening, sometimes, is also effective. For instance, when a manager is blasting, the subordinate selectively listen the issue rather than focusing on the harsh words. A good selective listener would filter all the verbal communication barriers, which includes redundant words, generalized statements, negative statements, verbal fillers,  and listen to the content, emotion and prosody behind the communication.


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