Be a Better Listener

Emily Kong
Be a Better Listener

Happy summer, or should I say, happy summer internship season! July is here, so your summer internship is underway. If you’re just starting out, good luck; you will kill it! If you’re already in your groove, then keep killing it. No matter what part of your internship you’re at or what kind of internship you have, remember, remember, remember to be a good listener.

Being a good listener is more than being physically there. If you’re just physically there, are you really listening at all? Think about it, what makes a good listener? Yes, being there is a part of it, but there’s so much more to it than that.

Being a good listener means to be:

  • engaged
  • interested
  • inspired

Being an engaged listener means to do more than just listen to whatever your boss, coworker or other intern says. It means to be an active listener. Take notes when your supervisor is talking during a one-on-one meeting. Take notes when you sit in on staff meetings with the entire team. Your department may not be presenting, but it’s still good for you to know what everyone is working on because it may affect your department. Taking notes will also help you out in the long run. You may forget the name of a program or location of a document you need, but if it was discussed during a meeting, bam!, you have it in your notes.

Being an interested listener means to actually pay attention to what is going on. Make eye contact. Yes, it might be scary to meet eyes with the head honcho or your big bad boss, but it shows that you are indeed paying attention and want them to know. Along with taking notes, understand what is being said and if you don’t, ask for clarification. Your supervisor would rather spend a few extra minutes in a meeting with you than having to clarify once you submit incorrect work, or even worse, have to spend time out of their busy day to correct it.

Being an inspired listener means to take something away from the meeting or from others. Contribute your ideas if you have them and if it’s the right situation. Your supervisor will be open to your ideas or may even ask you for your opinion. Once during an internship, the organization was looking for other social media scheduling sites because the current one they used was missing a feature that they desired, so I spoke up and offered options that I had used before. Not only did my supervisor want my help and I gave it to her, but I also showed that I was up-to-date and knowledgeable in the field we were working in.

Don’t float through the summer and count down the days until your internship is over. Spend the time you worked so hard to earn learning, growing and showing that you not only deserved the internship, but that you worked hard during it as well. Being a good listener is important because it shows that you care. Don’t be an average intern or an average employee; go above and beyond and prove that you are hardworking and a valuable asset.