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15 minute listening skills activity


I am about to conduct a training session to a group of call centre workers who sell holidays. I need a listening skills activity that will last about 15 minutes- any suggestions?
natalie cochrane

8 Responses

  1. simple stuff first
    Get them in pairs, ask one of them to give a potted version of their life history (or whatever subject you think is appropriate); the other partner listens; they swap; they then have to introduce the other person to the group. Depends on how big the group is as to how long it will take. Or they could work in “fours” (two pairs) and simply introduce their co-worker to the smaller group. Unlikely to take less than 20 minutes, however.

  2. Proactive Listening

    I have a list of 10 questions that we use for call centre call handlers to determine their listening abilities.

    Drop me an email if you would like a copy.

    Should take up about 10-15 minutes.

    Sophie Edmond

  3. back to back
    For people who usually listen on the telephone it’s useful to get them to do the exercise whilst sitting back to back. This helps to raise the issue of how to demonsatrate attending behaviours when you’re unable to see one another.

  4. ‘Head-Chatter’
    There is a fun activity that highlights how ‘head chatter’ can get in the way of effective listening. Feel free to email me for the details.

  5. Listening Skills
    I sit them in pairs back to back. I give one an A4 sheet with a drawing on it. A house, boat or train. The other has to draw it from instructions given such as draw a sraight line or a triangle or whatever. (You can allow questions for questioning technique). This shows the ability to interpret information even when not precise.

  6. Active Listening in difficult situations
    I have used this exercise to demonstrate just how difficult it is to listen effectively when the elements are against you. Right after lunch, when everyone is relaxed, using a short video or audio piece (preferrably not related to the course or their job), dim the lights and get folk to listen. Don’t advocate taking notes – they can if they wish. Then switch the lights back on and set them 10-15 oral questions – to which they must write the answers. It is a useful exercise and leads well into the whole listening experience. Let me know how you get on.

  7. Listening skills and note taking
    I recently carried out a similar exercise for call centre staff at a clients call centre.

    I played them a section from an audio book and when the passage had finished I asked them several questions and asked them to write the answers down. I then asked them to swap papers with the person next to them and asked them to mark the answers to each question. I then took their ‘score’ and wrote it on the flip chart next to their name.

    Then I repeated the exercise again with another section from the audio book and this time I told the delegates they could make notes. Again, I asked questions, got the delegates to write down the answers and got the person next to them to ‘score’ their results.

    Not only did this activity demonstrate the importance of listening skills, it also highlighted the importance of taking notes when listening and taking calls within a call centre.

    Trust this is of some help.



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