Listening: A Vital Skill
Listening is a key to conveying clear meaning. Listening is a skill which we all need to better develop. This article suggests eight clusters of ways quality listening manifests itself. Ways to measure good listening skills and that speakers can enhance their own messages can be listened to with greater acuity are discussed.
Listening is among our most consequential communication skills even though it is too frequently relegated to a lesser role in many educational, social, and political spheres. Listening is the awareness of, the tending to, the organization of, and the operationalization of data entering our nervous system via our hearing mechanism. Unlike hearing, which is a physiological passive activity, listening is an active cognitive process. University faculty, staff, students, and administrators would all benefit from improving their listening skills. Faculty would be better able to: respond to student and staff concerns; detect subtle evidence of student learing, measure concern about students' personal progress, and detect insight nuances. Staff members would be better able to respond to student and faculty needs when they listened more carefully to others' needs and reasons for those needs. Hurt feelings and perceived lack of worth shown to staff members could be mitigated in many cases through better listening and by clearer responses as a result. Administrators could make themselves better informed about campus attitudes and activities and its members' personalities and practices by better listening to those around them for information, feelings, and reactions...