My academic term–the winter quarter that began before Christmas and runs 10 weeks–is coming to an end. As my vision clears, I realize that I haven’t been a responsible blogger for some time. Students in my Technical Communication class have received most of my attention, and I am confident that they are better engineering writers than they were when they first darkened the classroom door. Now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I promise to return to my former bi-weekly productivity!
Beth Comstock’s blog caught my eye today on the subject of listening. As she points out, and we all know, it is much easier to talk than to listen. And what is more crucial to good communication than listening? This is a message that I share with students in my Tech Comm courses, and I hope they are listening (bad pun intended). Of course my role as professor demands a lot of talking, but it is always important to me to find ways to get them talking in class, putting myself in the role of avid listener.
I also do a seminar on effective listening skills frequently for students. As part of the advice I offer, I suggest several ways to be a better listener, like eliminating distractions from cell phones, computer, and other media so you can focus on the speaker, as well as listening with respect. Perhaps the most important advice I give is the advice that is the most difficult to follow: don’t talk!