Center for Excellence in Academic Advising
Active Listening Skills
Listening is the most basic advising skill. The elements of listening behavior include eye contact,
body language, verbal responses, and vocal tone. Most helpful to advisees are involved advisors
who practice active listening skills. Examples of active listening skills for advisors are as follows:
- Let your advisees tell their story first; do not interrupt their sentences.
- Relax and try not to give advisees the impression you want to jump right in and talk.
- Appreciate the emotion, e.g. voice intonation and body language, behind your advisees' words.
- Establish good eye contact.
- Use appropriate facial expressions.
- Use affirmative head nods.
- Avoid nervous or bored gestures.
- Fight off external distractions.
- Constantly check your understanding of what you hear, not what you want to hear.
- Intermittently respond to your advisees with uh-huh, yes-s-s, I see.
- Ask clarifying or continuing questions to demonstrate to your advisees that you are involved in what they're saying.
- Constantly check to see if your advisees want to comment or respond to what you have previously said to them.
- Take notes, if necessary, where certain facts and data are important.
Adapted from the NACADA Faculty Advising Training Program