Guidelines for how to become and active listener
- Talk less to listen more. Most people naturally like to share their thoughts and feelings, and some people almost seem unable to stop talking long enough to ever listen to another person. Try this: next time you’re in a conversation with another student, deliberately try not to speak very much but give the other person a chance to speak fully. You may notice a big difference in how much you gain from the conversation.
- Ask questions. To keep the conversational ball rolling, show your interest in the other person by asking them about things they are saying. This helps the other person feel that you are interested in them and helps build the relationship.
- Watch and respond to the other person’s body language. You’ll learn much more about their feelings for what they’re saying than if you listen only to their words.
- Show the other person that you’re really listening and that you care. Make eye contact and respond appropriately with nods and brief comments like “That’s interesting!” or “I know what you mean” or “Really?” Be friendly, smile when appropriate, and encourage the person to keep speaking.
- Give the other person feedback. Show you understand by saying things like “So you’re saying that…” or asking a question that demonstrates you’ve been following what they’re saying and want to know more. As you learn to improve your listening skills, think also about what you are saying yourself and how.
“4.3 Are You Really Listening?” from College Success by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.