e-book The it factor: be the one people like, listen to, and remember

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Eavesdropping entails intentionally listening in on a conversation that you are not a part of.

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People eavesdrop for a variety of reasons. People might think another person is talking about them behind their back or that someone is engaged in illegal or unethical behavior. Sometimes people eavesdrop to feed the gossip mill or out of curiosity. Consequences for eavesdropping may include an angry reaction if caught, damage to interpersonal relationships, or being perceived as dishonest and sneaky. Additionally, eavesdropping may lead people to find out information that is personally upsetting or hurtful, especially if the point of the eavesdropping is to find out what people are saying behind their back.

Aggressive listening A bad listening practice in which people pay attention in order to attack something a speaker says. Aggressive listeners like to ambush speakers in order to critique their ideas, personality, or other characteristics. Such behavior often results from built-up frustration within an interpersonal relationship. Unfortunately, the more two people know each other, the better they will be at aggressive listening. Take the following exchange between long-term partners:.

Narcissistic listening Self-centered and self-absorbed listening in which listeners try to make the interaction about them. Narcissistic listeners redirect the focus of the conversation to them by interrupting or changing the topic. When the focus is taken off them, narcissistic listeners may give negative feedback by pouting, providing negative criticism of the speaker or topic, or ignoring the speaker.

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You can see this narcissistic combination in the following interaction:. Narcissistic listeners, given their self-centeredness, may actually fool themselves into thinking that they are listening and actively contributing to a conversation. It is generally more competent to withhold sharing our stories until the other person has been able to speak and we have given the appropriate support and response. Do you have a friend or family member who repeats stories? Although it is a bad listening practice, we all understandably engage in pseudo-listening from time to time.

We should avoid pseudo-listening when possible and should definitely avoid making it a listening habit. There are several bad listening practices that we should avoid, as they do not facilitate effective listening:. Help Creative Commons. Creative Commons supports free culture from music to education. Their licenses helped make this book available to you.

Help a Public School. Previous Section. Table of Contents. Next Section. Explain how cognitive and personal factors can present barriers to effective listening. Discuss common bad listening practices. Environmental and Physical Barriers to Listening Environmental factors such as lighting, temperature, and furniture affect our ability to listen. Cognitive and Personal Barriers to Listening Aside from the barriers to effective listening that may be present in the environment or emanate from our bodies, cognitive limits, a lack of listening preparation, difficult or disorganized messages, and prejudices can interfere with listening.

Difference between Speech and Thought Rate Our ability to process more information than what comes from one speaker or source creates a barrier to effective listening. What are some common ways that you engage in media multitasking? What are some positive and negative consequences of your media multitasking? What strategies do you or could you use to help minimize the negative effects of media multitasking? Should laptops, smartphones, and other media devices be used by students during college classes? Why or why not? What restrictions or guidelines for use could instructors provide that would capitalize on the presence of such media to enhance student learning and help minimize distractions?

Lack of Listening Preparation Another barrier to effective listening is a general lack of listening preparation. Bad Listening Practices The previously discussed barriers to effective listening may be difficult to overcome because they are at least partially beyond our control. Interrupting Conversations unfold as a series of turns, and turn taking is negotiated through a complex set of verbal and nonverbal signals that are consciously and subconsciously received.

Distorted Listening Distorted listening occurs in many ways. Eavesdropping Eavesdropping A bad listening practice that involves a planned attempt to secretly listen to a conversation. Aggressive Listening Aggressive listening A bad listening practice in which people pay attention in order to attack something a speaker says.

I think it would be really good to be able to go pick our own tomatoes and peppers and cilantro to make homemade salsa. Summer: Really?

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When are you thinking about doing it? Deb: Next weekend. Would you like to help? But do you ever follow through with it? Narcissistic Listening Narcissistic listening Self-centered and self-absorbed listening in which listeners try to make the interaction about them. Toby: Why are you complaining? And you should hear the way he talks to me in front of the other employees. Pseudo-listening Do you have a friend or family member who repeats stories?

Key Takeaways Environmental and physical barriers to effective listening include furniture placement, environmental noise such as sounds of traffic or people talking, physiological noise such as a sinus headache or hunger, and psychological noise such as stress or anger. There are several bad listening practices that we should avoid, as they do not facilitate effective listening: Interruptions that are unintentional or serve an important or useful purpose are not considered bad listening.

When interrupting becomes a habit or is used in an attempt to dominate a conversation, then it is a barrier to effective listening. Distorted listening occurs when we incorrectly recall information, skew information to fit our expectations or existing schemata, or add material to embellish or change information. Aggressive listening is a bad listening practice in which people pay attention to a speaker in order to attack something they say.


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Narcissistic listening is self-centered and self-absorbed listening in which listeners try to make the interaction about them by interrupting, changing the subject, or drawing attention away from others. Exercises We are capable of thinking faster than the speed at which the average person speaks, which allows us some room to put mental faculties toward things other than listening. What typically makes your mind wander? Bad speakers and messages are a common barrier to effective listening. Of the bad listening practices listed, which do you use the most? Once you know how your brain handles noise, pick study locations that match your sound profile.

How many times have you popped dinner in the oven and, during the downtime while it cooked, tried to sneak in a chapter or two of reading? The solution: Pick up and move. It's almost impossible to stay focused on your studies while straining your eyes to read in dim lighting or squinting and getting a headache under harsh artificial lights. Adequate and appropriate lighting is a must for successful studying.

These small elements will add up and either help you have a great study session—or a bad one. The solution : Pay special attention to lighting when you sit down to study. Is the light adequate now, and is it likely to stay that way? Is it just an hour until sundown? Shielded full-spectrum fluorescent lights are said to help you be calmer, steadier, and less easily distracted. For a short time, you may be able to stay focused in hot or humid places, but after a while, these circumstances can become unbearable. The solution : When you can control your environment—you have access to a thermostat, for example—set the temperature to a comfortable, constant level.

Your smartphone. The TV. The solution : Once again, knowing yourself is crucial. Are you a compulsive email checker? Do you find yourself browsing Instagram or checking tweets without even thinking about it, even though you just checked them three minutes ago? Remove the distractions. Turn off your phone and tuck it away in your bag or dresser drawer.

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Log out of Facebook. Clear off your desk so only the necessary study supplies are within reach. And perhaps most importantly, schedule time for breaks. Take a walk every 20 or 30 minutes to refocus your energy. You can learn a lot about how to market yourself against the other competitors when you watch the others who've come before you. Every finalist on the X-Factor has something distinctive about them. Find your individual unique qualities and decide how you'll highlight them over the course of the show. Plan for the long haul. Come up with an ideal itinerary for what you'd like to accomplish throughout the season.

If you want to be the underdog by the mid-way point in the season, how will you accomplish that? Find out where the closest audition to you will occur. Audition sites are typically made public several months before the audition occurs, so keep a close watch on the X-Factor website for open calls and mobile van auditions.

Follow the show on social networking to get instant updates and you won't have to worry about missing out. Typically, you can fill out the registration paperwork online and file it before you show up on the day of the open calls. If not, you can still sign up your paperwork the day of, you just might end up waiting around a lot longer. In the United States, open calls are typically held in a wide range of locations on the west coast, east coast, and throughout the south.

In the UK, lots of auditions happens with mobile vans, in which the judges travel to different locations for smaller-scale auditions.

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Prepare your song for the audition. Before you show up, you need to have your song verse prepared, memorized perfectly, and practiced extensively. That should be the major focus of your audition preparation. A good song doesn't necessarily need to be famous, but it should highlight your voice perfectly. Bonus points for songs the judges aren't super-familiar with since they won't be able to compare it to the original or original songs you may have written. Show up early, well-rested, and fully prepared. Make sure you get a good night of sleep before the audition, avoid alcohol for 24 hours before, and stay hydrated.

Eat something before you show up, because the audition will probably end up taking all day. Either way, you'll probably end up being there all day, and there's no proof that earlier auditions go better than later ones, and vice versa. Show up when it's convenient for you and don't worry about performing. To register at the audition, you'll need to show two forms of ID. If you're under 18, a parent must accompany you and present their ID. After you sign the registration paperwork, you'll receive a wristband and seat ticket, and then wait around for a long time for your name to be called.

Stay warmed up for your audition. The worst part of the whole experience is negotiating the waiting period. You'll probably be both anxious and bored at the same time, so use the time effectively to relax, but also to stay warmed up for your performance. Do any vocal warm-ups you've practiced with your coach, and try to stay as calm as possible. You'll see lots of intimidating-looking singers doing weird elaborate rituals, probably, but try your best to ignore what's going on around you and stay focused. Do what you know.

It's not the time to change it up. Be confident and calm. When your name is called, the butterflies will kick it into high gear. Stay calm! If you've practiced effectively, you should be confident in your song and in your ability to nail the audition. Tell yourself, "I've got this. Don't worry about cameras, celebrities, and what the audition will mean. Just think about the song. That kind of dedication is partially what the judges will be looking for. Don't fawn over the judges because they're celebrities.

If you feel nervous, don't try to mask it with giddy enthusiasm. They're just people, so answer their questions sincerely and get to the performance as quickly as possible. While you should be calm, it is true that creating a sense of drama seems to have some effect on the judges. If you've got a wild story about how you almost missed the bus that you needed to take to get to the audition, or that you're worried you'll lose your job to be there that day because you're so dedicated to your singing, it might help you stand out some.

Sing your best. The number-one thing that the judges will be listening for is a star-making vocal performance. The "x" extra factor is important, and the look is important, but these are things that can be molded and improved that's part of the X-Factor as a program—finding people with a duck-to-swan story.

Don't worry about anything but singing your heart out.


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Don't worry about winning the show during your audition. Just worry about making it through to the next round. Make it clear that you're very serious about being a singing star. People who say "this is my dream," is a big part of what the judges are looking for. They want stars who want to be stars, to give the people someone to root for.

Forget about using any gimmicks. Wearing elaborate stage gear, playing tambourines, or doing any other gimmicky attempts at standing out will mostly just get the axe. It looks weird and the judges might laugh, but won't often be impressed. Don't over-think the audition. They're looking for your voice, not your sense of humor. Acoustic guitars, however, do have a tendency to help you stand out from the crowd. If you play and have a song that could use some acoustic accompaniment, bring it with you if you're a competent player.

Bring an entourage to help you celebrate. You want to give the people someone to root for, and people tend to love a character with a big support system of family, friends, and locals behind them. It's a good story we can all get behind. If you can, get as many friends and family to come with you as possible, to scream with you when you come out of the audition with an invitation to the next round.


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  5. Just focus on the next round. X-Factor should be a marathon, not a sprint. No one performance, episode, or moment is going to win the show, so try to stay focused on the smallest possible tasks. Listen to the judges, take feedback constructively, work hard to improve your game, and get into the next round. Not every one of your performances is going to be stellar, but each one needs to be good enough.

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    Don't worry too much about being the best possible singer and performer every night, but try to focus on remaining consistent and reliable as a performer. Make it through boot camp by learning as much as possible. You'll work alongside one of the judges and odds are you won't like everything they'll tell you.

    Your ability to take criticism and work hard to improve your performances will earn you bonus points, however, so it's important to keep a good head and respond well to feedback. X-Factor won't cater to divas and prima donnas, so check your ego at the door when you're going through bootcamp. One part of the training process involves a makeover, and it can be a good idea to grow a bit of scruff before the makeover.

    If you transition from regular ol' you to Superstar You is especially dramatic, that'll play well with the judges and the fans. Part of the show is finding the most relatable character, the person with the most to root for, which can work in your favor during the makeover. According to Demi Lovato, judge on X-Factor, the look is actually just as important, if not more so, than your voice. Take this part of the competition seriously. Show multiple sides of yourself.