Advising should go beyond simply giving information or signing a form.
One of the most important skills you can have is active listening. Your ability to listen actively, and thoughtfully, can have a profound effect on how your advisees experience their first-year at MIT.
Here are some principles to keep in mind when having conversations with your advisees:
- Allow students to tell their story without interrupting.
- Keep similar feelings or problems from your own experience to a minimum.
- Observe the emotion, voice intonation, and body language behind words.
- Establish consistent eye contact and use affirmative head nods.
- Check for understanding by paraphrasing what is said.
- Ask open-ended questions to open dialogue, rather than asking “yes” or “no” questions.
- Keep notes from your conversation so that you can you recall and follow up on specifics.