- Sarah Birrell IvorySarah Birrell IvoryLecturer in Climate Change and Business Strategy, University of Edinburgh Business School
This chapter illustrates that the ability to effectively listen is a key tool not only within a university context, but also within your personal and professional life, and contribute to critical thinking. Where passive listening accepts the first and easiest meaning of what you hear, and rote listening aims simply to repeat what you hear, active listening is a cognitive process that aims to engage and improve your thinking. Active listening comprises hearing, comprehending, analysing, interpreting, and evaluating sounds. While recorded listening is increasingly available and can be useful, you must master ‘live listening’ in the pursuit of improved thinking and for your professional life beyond university. You should listen to lecturers and tutors, but it is also important to listen to your colleagues, and to those not speaking. Obstacles to active listening also include attention, distraction, and extended focus. However, not all listening should be active listening, even at university: empathetic listening has a place, especially in your relationships with others.