Studying Effectively

Managing your work with other people

When working with other people you will have to liaise with them on a regular basis. It is surprising how much more you can get out of these meetings with a little preparation and a willingness to listen.

Being a good team member

When you are in a team it is important to contribute and to allow others to contribute. A good team member will:

  • Respect the time of others and turn up to all meetings promptly
  • Respect the opinions of others, listen, take turns and share
  • Complete their own tasks to the best of their ability, efficiently and on time
  • Support their colleagues, share responsibilities and play their part in keeping the group positive and focused.


Listening is one of the most important things to do during a meeting. It is very easy to concentrate so much on your own contribution that you miss something important.

Listening skills include:

  • Be prepared for the meeting - and be prepared to listen actively.  Like attending lectures, preparation will help you get more out of the meeting, but you are likely to be both listening and also contributing, so you will be listening to others and others will listen to you.
  • Use body language - thinking about how you sit or move can help demonstrate that you are listening and can help you focus.  Try to make eye contact when someone is speaking (but avoid staring if you can); you may find yourself instinctively nodding to acknowledge what another person is saying.
  • Avoid interrupting - sometimes a group member may need to take their time to finish communicating their idea.
  • Be aware of underlying message – pay attention to both what you and your fellow group members say and how it is said.  Listen to vocal tone: it is possible to appear reluctant to take on a task even when saying 'yes'.  It may not always be appropriate to draw attention to differences between tone and what is said, but be sensitive to support and communicate clearly with other group members.
  • Clarify meaning – reiterating/repeating questions and briefly rephrasing can help check that the intended meaning has been clearly expressed.
  • Be inclusive - make sure everyone has a chance to contribute before moving onto the next agenda topic.
  • Allow silences - allow time and space for each person to reflect, offer their views, and think through their ideas.  Be attentive to how you use and react to silences.
  • Attend to record-keeping - make sure you have a clear set of notes from any meeting.  These will help you recall what was discussed and agreed, therefore acting as preparation for active listening at future meetings.
Studying in Hallward Library, University Park


Further reading

Studying at university

Practical strategies for time management

People who can help

Talk to someone in your school or a specialist support service



Studying Effectively

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