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3.7.22 How to Become a Better Listener

3.7.22 How to Become a Better Listener

Dear Students,


How many of you have ever had the experience of speaking to someone and feeling as if you weren’t really heard? It might have been with a peer, a parent even a professor.  At one time or another, you’ve probably all felt like “you were talking to a wall,” when the other person focused only on her/his agenda and didn’t really absorb, let alone respond to, what you were trying to communicate.


Conversely, when someone truly listens to us, we feel validated, respected and cared for. In a professional sense, we feel the listener is taking in what we are saying and actually considering it. And the individual’s doing so is typically accompanied by supporting body language, including head nodding, strong eye contact and a general sense of empathy. In the West, asking questions to gain clarity is also helpful, and encouraged (vs. what you might have grown up learning in China).


Thus, when entering the workforce (and even in interviews), truly listening well (which has often been called a gift), can be a valuable differentiator among your fellow job applicants and new hires, showing confidence, concern for others and true collaboration.


As the excellent attached article (paradoxically) conveys, truly listening well is not at all passive – it is very much one of the key “soft skills” for you to learn when embarking upon a career in the West.


HBR How to Become a Better Listener