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Good Listening is Good Learning

Listening provides meaning and understanding to what we hear. We may hear the noise of the falling tree (auditory stimulation). Listening carefully, we conclude that this noise represents a tree that has fallen.

Effective listening evokes questions and response from the listener. Listening is hearing with comprehension, just as reading effectively means reading with comprehension. Thus, you could be attending a lecture and hear sounds coming from the speaker, but your mind is elsewhere. You are preoccupied with your own thoughts. True, you are hearing something, but you're not listening.

We spend much of our time in a hearing/listening mode. We are able to comprehend that a tree has fallen in the woods, from the noise we hear as well as the forest we see. On the job, we participate in meetings and spend considerable time on the telephone. Frequently, we are called upon to make decisions based on verbal information and data. Needless to say, the majority of our formal and informal education involves our auditory sense.

When you hear a person state, "He's a good listener," what is actually being said is that he listens, understands and responds to what he hears. There is a need to be a good listener both on and off the job. Being a good listener at work can increase your value under the new employment contract. As an asset of the corporation, good listeners are better problem solvers and decision makers, and are usually more promotable. In this age of downsizing, reengineering and reorganization, good listeners are often survivors.

A good listener is generally a good learner -- on or off the job. Whether the task is completing a college course or learning a new job-related skill, the good listener usually does a better job. A good listener is usually more self-confident and has a positive attitude regarding a learning endeavor. In addition to sharpening your reading skills, as an adult learner, you also need to become a good listener to facilitate the learning process.