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Trainer’s Tip: Listen Up


This week's tip is a double contribution, Buffy Sparks shares an active listening exercise and Shankar Ram adds a follow up.

Buffy Sparks writes:
I recently used with great succcess for getting the message across about Active Listening is below:-
  • Group split into pairs, A and B.

  • Take Bs out of the room and ask them to wait outside.

  • Inform the As that whilst they are listening to their partner, everytime their partner says something that evokes their "inner voice" i.e. they want to ask a question, makes them think about something etc. They put their hand up for five seconds then put it back down.

  • Ask them to do this for the entire conversation - As are not allowed to interact with Bsbut must remain silent, just raising their hand everytime their inner voice kicks in.

  • Next inform the Bs outside that they are to speak to As about something of interest, such as an experience, their last holiday or anything positive that has happened to them in the last six months. They have three minutes to talk.

  • Ask Bs back into the room, then allow them their three minutes of talking.

  • At the end of the three minutes ask the Bs how they felt whilst talking to A, emotions evoked etc. General answers back are normally "didn't feel listened too, didn't understand why they were putting their hand up, lost my train of thought becuase they obviously weren't listening".
  • You can also ask the As to not only raise their hand, but also lose focus, i.e. start staring out the window, become transfixed with the detail on their partner's jacket, etc. Another obvious distraction to their listening.

    It's a great simple, quick exercise to run, and then to talk with the group about the power of active listening aterwards.

    You can run the exercise again, this time allowing the As to interact, ask questions, become involved in the conversation etc. and compare the two conversations.

    Shankar Ram writes:
    After asking the group to do an exercise as recommended (A & B) I do this which brings out the importance of listening.

    I ask all the members to write the names of three people whom they cosider as good listeners. I personally check with each participant if they have written three names ( Some find it difficult).

    Then I ask the group if anyone has written the name of the person whom they don't like. Usually nobody writes the name of the person whom they don't like.

    Then I ask if the three people they have written, come in the in any one of these categories: liked by them, loved by them or respected by them. The response normally is yes.

    Now I ask them, if they are to be liked or loved or respected by others, how should they be?

    They see the point that they need to be good listeners if they are to be liked, loved or respected by others.

    I have used this in many programs and people love it.

    View the original posting:

    Active Listening Exercise

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