Listening Tips

Before Listening

  • Take responsibility for comprehension. Your teacher can make sure that you hear but only you can be sure that you understand.
  • Get ready to listen; focus your attention on the speaker.
    • Physically
      • Try to tune out physical distractions such as noise, hunger, being hot or cold.
      • Try to remove things that may distract you as you listen in class. Example: pagers, cell phones, materials on desk, etc.
    • Mentally
      • Resist mental distractions; actively focus on the speaker.
      • Review what you already know about the subject.
      • Review your notes.
      • Try to find an area of interest within the subject.

During Listening

  • Listen for the main ideas.
  • Listen to understand rather than to argue or find mistakes.
    • Hear the person out before you respond. You are listening to gain information, not necessarily to agree with it.
    • Don’t be critical. Don’t tune out on the information because you don’t see the value in it.
  • Keep an open mind.
    • Control your emotions. If your emotions take control then you have created a barrier. Try to maintain balance.
    • Judge content, not delivery.
  • Be mentally agile. Most people speak at about 200 words a minute, but the mind processes words at around 400-500 words per minute. During the mind’s spare time it can easily wander. Be alert.