Constructive listening is taking responsibility for the outcome of communication processes. Even in case you are only listening to a lecturer you influence the mode of communication and ultimately the extent to which you can benefit from the lecture. The same is true for interviewing as a part of a research project.
Management research has shown that effective listening is the single most important skill in becoming a good manager (Whetten et al, 2004: 251). Whereas listening in general serves as an input for your own learning, applying the principles of constructive listening considerably increase the effectiveness of your efforts. This pertains in particular to more social activities like management and presentations.
You should be prepared to go through the reflective cycle of constructive listening, and you should always take into account the following three phases:
- The preconditions for constructive listening
- Listening as co-production
- Listening as a technique: balancing listening and writing