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Productive Listening

Your daily life is filled with what could be passive listening experiences. Students attend lectures; employees attend meetings. You spend countless hours in situations where one or two people do the talking and the rest are supposed to soak it up. This idea contradicts the way people learn: people learn by being active users of new information, not passive hearers.

Productive listening starts by understanding ourselves and the listening process. Communication is a complex act of moving information from one human brain to another by converting ideas into words in the speaker’s mind and converting those words back into ideas in the listener’s mind. Since words have multiple meanings and can be strung together in less-than-perfect sentences, the opportunities for misunderstanding are great.


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