Listening analytically

This is a generic checklist for listening to any type of conversation where you need a strong analytical mindset.


  • Focus your attention
  • Brainstorm what you expect to learn
  • Refresh your memory on what you know


  • Take notes on meaning, not verbatim
  • Key terms
  • Speaker cues about the main points
  • Relationship of sub-points
  • Known facts and uncertain areas
  • Point of view (and other points of view)
  • Speaker’s argument on the topic
  • Counter-arguments on the topic
  • Any cited sources
  • Action items (what to do)


  • Set aside notes taken during session
  • From memory, write down main point
  • Write down sub-points
  • Re-write action items to clarify and reinforce (while remaining consistent)

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