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Asking Questions & Reacting as Part of Listening

On the other hand, if the speaker's lecture deals with subject matter you are familiar with, if it meets your expectations, you will listen differently. Your mind will filter this information in such a way that comprehension and retention are almost assured.

Once the information has been filtered or assimilated, understanding should follow. Understanding may entail reviewing the information, asking questions, evaluating the data and finally reaching a conclusion.

An effective listener asks questions of the speaker to clarify understanding. Good listeners review and analyze the information. Good listeners are not "Jumpers" -- they will not form a conclusion until all information has been received, reviewed and evaluated.

Responding to the information given by the speaker usually takes the form of some visible reaction. The listener nods his head and smiles, acknowledging (for the speaker) that the message is received and understood. Conversely, a shrug of the shoulders and a frown by the listener may indicate confusion and lack of understanding.

A positive response can also be given when the listener (learner) exhibits a new work-related skill because of a training session. Affirmation of the training received in the learning session may take the form of improved telephone skills, dealing more effectively with unhappy customers or demonstrating more effective use of the computer.

If the purpose of the lecture or training session was preparation for taking a test, then receiving a passing score on the exam also would indicate a positive response.