Salisbury University students on campus

Listening Skills

Many students have trouble listening to what their professor says in class, and remembering it afterwards. Let the letters in the word “LISTEN” help guide you to becoming a better listener.

Look for the order your professor presents his/her information to the class. Understanding the order of information will help you anticipate what is coming next in the lecture. Most instructors use the same order of presenting their information which is:

  • Introduction
  • Thesis statement
  • Body
  • Summary
  • Unrelated material or extra information

Identify why what your professor is saying is important to you. If you do not have a reason for listening to the lecture, you will become unmotivated and start daydreaming.

Situate yourself in the classroom so that you can hear and see everything you need to, as well as be able to participate in class discussions. You may also want to be cautious of sitting near your friends if you think they will distract you from listening to the lecture. Make sure you get plenty of rest before your class, and if you know you do get tired, bring coffee or some sort of drink that will help you stay attentive.

Tune in by learning how to increase your attention span. Make a note of when your mind starts to wander, and write down how long you were able to listen to the lecture without a distracting thought. When you are consciously aware that you zone out, try to find out why you do so and come up with a strategy that will help keep your mind on the lecture.

Examine the content that is provided to determine what the main points of the lecture are. Not everything in a lecture is important, so check your syllabus or instructor to see what key points will be discussed each day.

Notes are helpful to take while listening to the lecture to improve your concentration.

Listening Tips:

  • Concentrate
  • Paraphrase
  • Resist distractions around you
  • Listen for main ideas
  • Try to stay open minded
  • Pay attention to nonverbal cues
  • Find areas in the lecture that interest you
  • Take notes
  • Face the speaker, maintain eye contact, sit up straight, do not put your head on the desk