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Once & For All: Stopping Sexual Harassment at Work

Listening Activity: Who’s Listening?

Active ListeningActivity Directions

Hand out Worksheet: Who’s Listening?
(See worksheet design suggestions at the very bottom.)

Point out the two labels: Worst Listener on the left end of the line and Best Listener on the right. Read the directions on the Worksheet aloud.  Allow participants 5-10 minutes to complete the Worksheet.

ASK:
• What influence does your Best Listener co-worker have over the quantity or quality of your work?
• How do you feel having conversations with the person you are thinking of as Best Listener? Does it affect your job performance?
• How does this person’s ability to listen to you and others affect the work group and environment as a whole?
• How does the behavior of the Worst Listener affect both the quality and quantity of work that you do?

Participants can add brief notes on these points on their worksheet. Then facilitate a discussion where participants share with the group some of the behaviors noted on their worksheets. Remember: No names!

Debrief the activity with the following points:

• Sometimes it seems as if we don’t have choices, but usually we do. We can choose to focus our attention. We can choose to reduce distraction. We can choose to stop for a few minutes to sit down and listen.
• The benefit of one person’s ability to be an effective listener carries beyond individual conversations. Attention and good listening set a tone for the interactions that follow.
• As a listener, focus on the speaker—what are they really trying to say? What are they feeling? What is their need, and how can you as a listener help fill it?
• The listener demonstrates a deep level of focus and concentration by maintaining eye contact and comfortable body language. Attention goes a long way toward relieving tension and letting the speaker know they have your undivided attention.
• Let the speaker DO most of the speaking and avoid interrupting them.
• Prompt the speaker with encouragement and phrases such as,“Tell me more about that…” or “You must have felt…”
• Reflect back to the speaker what you understand the speaker is feeling with comments like “I think I hear you saying….,” or, “It sounds like you feel___about___.”

This level of listening holds potential for effective problem-solving, builds trust, and opens the way for meaningful, ongoing communication and results.

Worksheet should look something like this:

Worksheet: Who’s Listening?

1. Think about the worst listener you know (no real names please), and the best listener you know. Write some hint as to who they are on the line below.
2. Think about your conversations with these individuals. What do each of them do that make them the best or the worst at listening?
3. Below each “name”, list a few bullets or key words describing observable behaviors that make each of these people the best and worst listeners you know.
4. In the Where are You? section, write Me somewhere between the two ends of the scale—at the appropriate position for your own listening skills. List a few of your own listening habits below Me.

Worst Listener

You Know

 

Best Listener

You Know

1

2   

3

   4

5

        6

7

8

     9

10

L

 

J

Behaviors

Behaviors

Where are You?

    1

2

 3

   4

5

         6

 7

8

    9

10

L

 

J

Your Behaviors:

 

Material excerpted from the Leader’s Guide for the video training program, Nobody’s Listening.

Need help in this area? Nobody’s Listening depicts what happens when a hurried manager fails to listen to the concerns of a subordinate. As he gets a second chance to practice the art of active listening, a number of problems are averted.

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One Response to “Listening Activity: Who’s Listening?”

  1. Ilangovan Padmanaban Says:

    The article “Who’s listening?” made interesting reading. I liked the section where the author teaches the reader to “debrief” the activity.

    However, there is a major contra-indication: the activity would apparently get managers and others to “start listening actively and with undivided attentio,” but there is a conflict in using a heuristic to identify “the worst listener” and “the best listener”! Although the worksheets advises participants to avoid “using real names”, it is an undeniable fact that they would carry around in their heads who was the worst and who the best for some time at least. Besides being a negative approach (two extremes in behaviours are identified for ease of identitication), the approach does not put forward suggestions on how to handle such polarized characterizations.

    In my opinion, it would be better to “focus on the process of listening” rather than on so-called static behaviours of people. In point of fact, the very same person characterized as “the worst listener” might show some ‘good listening behaviours” when they’re with people have recently made them happy, for instance.

    As, the communication situation seems to bring about such “polarized behaviours” in individuals, it would pay to avoid such constructs.

    Hope that helps!

    Ilangovan

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