The student who is already full...cannot take in more...

Defending, being quick to end the conversation (to get rid of the person or the threat of the topic or just to stop being bothered, interrupted, talking with no directed purpose, talking theory without following through, needing to be heard so badly, not being able to resist the impulse... all those are barriers and not proactive listening.


See also:

Active Listening - To Accomplish The Goals Of The Communication 
No Negative Conversations - Eliminating These Toxics From The Brain - The negative can only be in a conversation if it is for the purpose of progressing to the solution of it - never otherwise!!!!

Truly productive people are always proactive

The truly productive people are always proactive, including in their listening.  They are actively seeking solutions and the results they want in life.  Nonproactive are usually just hearing as well as they can with hardly any effort and passively letting it go, without milking it for all it is worth. 

See Proactive Vs. Reactive - The Difference Between A Good Life And Not A Good Life.

Outside article

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Proactive Listening Should Be Your First Social Skill 
Proactive thinking

Proactive listeners are proactive thinkers, not at all passive. They push through to actively ask questions and find facts and formulate conclusions, while IN the conversation, as much as is possible.

They actively move from level one "thinking" to actual high level thinking:

1. Ignorance

2. Conversational competence (the level of talking "about", theorizing, sometimes showing off, sometimes just occupying the conversation and keeping it from going to the next level, since we cannot do both in the same space)

3. Operational competence (this must be our minimum standard in necessary areas - we are only at this level when evidenced by actual results in the real world)

4. Proficiency (definitely should push it to here in all major, highest value areas!)

5. Mastery (of self, of learning itself, of thinking itself, of operating in life)

            (From Pebbles Of Perception, Endersen)

Do develop one into a reasonably competent thinker (not one who says frequently "I just didn't think"), one should complete the whole basic program for Right Thinking - The Master Skill.

Proactive listening includes and requires "active listening" but it carries it further along to reap the maximum benefit from the conversation - not just to understand the message.

The listener asks questions to further the conversation, inquires more deeply, and lead the conversation toward gaining the maximum benefits from that conversation. 

He is a causal agent, not just an active receiver.


The test as to whether one is doing proactive listening lies always in the results that come from that communication as enhanced by him/her.

The proactive listener takes the process deeper, causes more conclusions and/or followup to be arrived at. 

He/she is assuming the role of being 100% responsible for the results and gaining the cooperation of the other person(s) and coming to useful results!!