Listening attentively


Have you ever zoned out during a lecture? After listening to your teacher or guest speaker several minutes, do you sometimes realise that absolutely nothing is sinking in? You can improve your retention by practicing active listening.

Each time you sit down to listen to a speaker or a class lecture, you should listen as if you’re going to be tested on the material.

Listen for verbal clues. Your teacher will emphasise any important terms and concepts.

Watch for nonverbal clues. Eyebrows, hands, pauses, eyes: these features all show expression when your teacher makes an important point.

Be mindful of your own reactions. When your teacher says something that sound interesting go ahead and nod or smile. If the teacher says something boring or unpleasant, try not to have an ugly response. Why? To keep yourself on track.

Avoid making predictions. If we think we know what someone is about to say, we stop listening and start drifting.

Focus on the words, not the person. Don’t get distracted by an ugly dress, weird hairstyle or goofy tie. Don’t get caught up on one detail. Stay on pace. Don’t let your mind wander. Put that food, person, music, or daydream out of your head and save it for later.