Merge's Blog

Active listening can be accomplished by taking notes

Earlier this week I offered up a technique to become a more active listener – paraphrasing.  And I promised I’d share one more idea today.  So here it is – take notes.  Yes, that’s right, taking notes will lead to more active listening.  I know that may sound counterintuitive – after all, taking notes would draw your attention away from listening, wouldn’t it?  Not so.  As long as you’re not transcribing, word-for-word, your conversation, you should be fine.  The point of taking notes is to jot down key words and phrases to jog your memory later, not to record the conversation in detail.  And once again, as it was for paraphrasing, taking notes itself doesn’t make you a better listener; it’s because your brain is engaged (because you’re taking notes) that you have a reason to stay present and checked-inEssentially, because you give your brain something to do, it stays in the conversation instead of drifting away.  In fact, taking notes is one of the most effective ways to listen more actively – that’s because writing is a motor skill, which means that it engages your brain in a different (and additional) way.  Double strength!

So … what other techniques do you use to listen more actively?  Share your successful approaches with us all.

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