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Listening Effectively to Help Improve your Attitude

Another important piece of luggage for your trip is your ability to be an effective listener.

  • Hearing is a physical function.
  • Listening provides meaning and understanding to what we hear.
  • A “good listener” understands and responds to what is heard.
  • An effective listener hears, is focused, assimilates and understands information—and responds.

A focused listener is an active listener. A focused listener takes notes based on what is heard, asks questions and is generally involved in the learning activity. A passive listener simply occupies space and is easily distracted by personal problems and unrelated issues.

Assimilation involves the classification and organization of information so that there is understanding and meaning. This in turn leads to a response from the listener in the form of a smile, a nod, passing an exam or demonstrating a newly learned skill.

You can improve your listening abilities by proper preparation. Before you attend a lecture, preview the topic to be discussed in much the same way that you would preview a book before actually reading it.

Pay attention to the listening environment. Arrive early for the lecture, pick out a seat near the front so that you can see and hear better. Avoid distractions that may occur by sitting near a door or a window.

Check your attitudes and emotions at the door. If you attend a lecture with preconceived notions about the topics or the speaker, you will listen to very little. You’ll be too preoccupied with your conflicting personal beliefs or your dislike of the speaker to listen effectively.

Take notes on what you hear. Ask questions. Become involved in the listening and learning process.