Effective Listening


  1. Desire to become a better listener.
  2. Stop talking.
  3. Look at the speaker.
  4. Leave your emotions behind.
  5. Get rid of distractions.
  6. Get the main points.
  7. Don't argue mentally.
  8. Listen for what is not said.
  9. Avoid jumping to conclusions.
  10. Avoid hasty judgments.
  11. Recognize your own prejudice.


Professor Walter Pauk of the Study Center at Cornell University describes five essential aspects of note taking. He characterized these as the five R's of note taking. Here they are:

  1. RECORDING. Get down the main ideas and facts.
  2. REDUCING. To reduce is to summarize. Pick out key terms and concepts. You can make from your notes what students sometimes call "cram sheets." These are sheets that list, usually in outline form, the bare bones of a course. You will use them in reviewing by using the key ideas as cues for reciting the details of what you have in your notes. On each page of notes you take, allow room to write down these cues.
  3. RECITING. Review lecture notes as soon after the lecture as possible. But you will also want to review your notes before an exam and from time to time during the semester to keep them fresh in your mind. Do so in your own words. That way you will know that you understand.
  4. REFLECTING. Something that many students don't grasp is that ideas from college courses are meant to be thought about. It is easy to fall into the trap of reciting ideas by rote. One of the main purposes of a college education is to help you think. Then too, if you reflect about what you are learning, you won't be surprised when ideas turn up on examinations in an unexpected form.
  5. REVIEWING. One of the real secrets of successful studying is knowing when, how, and what to review. But however you do it, reviewing is essential. Even the accomplished performer--the pianist or the stage performer--knows that a review, no matter how well he or she may know the material, is essential to a professional performance.