How to be an Active Listener from an Insider's Perspective

It is important for students to learn active listening skills, and what better way to learn them than from someone who participates in active learning on a daily basis? A large portion of a learning center coordinator's time is spent simply listening to the student body and campus constituents, and hearing out their academic challenges, academic successes, expectations, as well as wants and needs as members of The Rasmussen College Family.

In this role, a learning center coordinator must hone their active learning skills, which are essential to providing our students/campus constituents with the best service possible. Active listening can be defined as a communication tool/technique that allows the listener to provide feedback to the speaker confirming that both parties understand.

Students can learn a lot about acitve learning from their learning center coordinators. For example, when engaging in a conversation with somebody about an issue they’re having – whether personal or professional – there are active listening techniques one must be sure to utilize.

Use appropriate body language

Oftentimes when engaging in a conversation the listener is more concerned with how they’re going to reply than attentively listening. When this happens, one may start to fidget in their seat, lose eye contact and become distracted by other people or stimuli.

When conversing, try the following tips:  

  • Make constant eye-contact
  • Fold your hands and keep them still
  • Nod occasionally. 

These 3 simple techniques help communicate to the speaker that you are listening and that you understand the message being delivered.

Next, try paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing allows one to restate what they have just heard and it promotes further explanation from the speaker.  Paraphrasing encourages reflection, thought and empathy. All of which are needed in effective communication.  Mentioned here are only two active listening techniques.

However,  there are many more tools you can utilize to help you become a better listener:

  • Waiting to speak
  • Reading the speakers body language
  • Avoiding distractions
  • Asking questions that promote further explanation

If you are either a Rasmussen College student or faculty/staff member, it is encouraged that you try these active listening techniques mentioned the next time you have a conversation; as it is sure to improve the communication between you and your peers, classmates, faculty and staff.  

External links provided on Rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

Walter D. Joseph, M.Ed., is a Learning Center Coordinator at Rasmussen College in New Port Richey. HE has worked in the field of Higher Education for over 5 years. Walter also has a M.Ed. in Education from The University of South Florida. Walter is dedicated to student holistic development and is a facilitator of lifelong learning.

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