Learn to Listen

From business courses to software training, a university can offer an abundance of resources to help prepare students to plunge into the work force. Students arm themselves with certifications and fine tune their resumes, however some of the most important skills aren’t taught in a textbook. As a student in the midst of figuring out life after school, it has become abundantly clear that there is plenty to gain from learning one simple lesson; listen.

The power of a conversation cannot be understated. Some of the most influential insights gained along my path have come from simple conversations and a desire to learn. Often students in this transitional stage of life can be overwhelmed with worries and questions, while the answers may be right around them all along. There is so much to be learned from speaking with co-workers, clients, employers and peers, if you are willing to listen.

Here are some tips to help you listen effectively:

Be Open 

Each new person you meet and each conversation you have can be an opportunity for growth. Every person has traveled a unique path and is likely to have been in your shoes at one time. Asking questions and taking stories into consideration can go a long way in shaping your perspective.

Be Engaged

It’s difficult to share information or enjoy a conversation with someone who appears to be distracted. Open body language, eye contact and active listening are all important skills that should form into habits.

Be Receptive

Allow the other person to finish their thought before readying a response. Taking a brief pause and asking a few questions can help you to fully understand the other person’s intent. Make a clear effort to listen and assure that you are both on the same track.

While hard work and determination can take you a long way, it’s important to learn as much as you can from those around you. Learning to listen is one of the best ways to enhance your career.

Matt DeBonis is Exec-Comm’s Summer 2017 Marketing Intern. Learn more about Matt.

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