Online Toolkit

Part 5 - Modules

Active Listening Exercise

MAIN THEMESEffective communication, empathy.
TARGET GROUPYoung people 12-30, youth workers.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES- To realize oneself as listener.
- To show active listening.
- To observe the process of listening.
- To find out how to improve the communication process.
Post a large sheet of paper with the following rotation schedule:
   - For the first question: #1 will be the speaker, #2 the listener, and #3 the observer.
   - For the second question: #1 will be the observer, #2 the speaker, and #3 the listener.
   - For the third question: #1 will be the listener, #2 the observer and #3 the speaker.
Select a few personal questions that are likely to stimulate participant-centered sharing on the project theme. A timer and bell to indicate when three minutes are up.

Divide people into 3 groups.
Explain to them that they will be given a question to discuss and each of them will get a turn at being a speaker, a listener, and an observer.
Tell participants that the speaker has 3 minutes to speak about the topic.
The listener should focus on the speaker and make small gestures or sounds of understanding. If something is not clear the listener can ask a question to clarify the meaning. Otherwise, the speaker continues uninterrupted until the bell rings.

Give the participants the first question and let them discuss it for 3 minutes. When the time is up ask them to change their roles and give a new question. Do the same for the 3rd round.

After everyone gets a chance to be a listener, speaker and observer, participants will report the experiences to each other in the same groups of 3 by answering the following guide questions:
   - Listener: how well did I focus on the speaker? How effectively did I listen? What barriers did I experience to actively listen?
   - Speaker: how does it feel to be actively listened to? How well did the listener listen? Why do I think that the listener was listening effectively?
   - The observer will make sure the speaker and listener observe the rules. The observer will report on the listener's attempts to be an effective listener. The observer will also note any non-verbal signs that the listener was having difficulty listening or the speaker was having difficulty being understood.

After the exercise, give participants Active Listening Review worksheet (10 min to fill out individually).

After the activity, bring the group together to share about their review worksheet and the activity itself. You can start the discussion by asking guide questions:
- How was it like to have someone focus on actively listening to you?
- How was it like to concentrate on actively listening?
- What typical kinds of difficulties did observers find?
- Why is it important to actively listen?
- Can you relate this to society in general?
- What happens if groups of people feel they are not listened to in society?
HUMAN RESOURCES NECESSARYGroups divisible by 3, 1 facilitator.
MATERIALSLarge sheet of paper, bell, handouts (worksheets).
WHERE WAS IT USED? Peacemaker Camp 2010 Crimea, Ukraine.
Submitted by Volunteers Bulgaria.

Active Listening Review Worksheet
A – Listener:
How would you assess your own ability to actively listen in this round?
How did you feel as you were attempting to be an effective listener?
What do you think were the major barriers to your actively listening?

B – Partner:
How do feel being actively listened to?
How well do you think you were listened to?
What did you particularly notice about the listener's attempts to be an effective listener?

C – Observer (Keep the Rules):
What did you particularly notice about the listener's attempts to be an effective listener?
What particular non-verbal cues indicated that the listener was having difficulty actively listening?
What particular non-verbal cues indicated that the partner was having difficulty with being heard?