10 Listening skills exercises
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10 Exercises To Improve Listening Skills And Become An
Active Listener

Why do we need exercises to improve listening skills? Because we do, that's why. Because practice makes perfect.

How to improve listening skills? Just pay attention and you will learn that. Listening skills are crucial if you want to have a good relationship with others. Some people have listening skills while most don't have them (or at least they don't think they have any listening skills).

Actually, we all have listening skills, some more than others, but we all have at least some skills, we just don't use them often and they tend to get rusty over time. This is why we need some listening skills exercises. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will realize the importance of listening.

So the question now is how to improve listening skills? Now, improving listening skills is not an easy task, but it can be done.


Here are 10 of the most useful exercises to improve listening skills (you can call them active listening activities):

Exercise to improve listening skills no.1 The "don't interrupt" exercise.

don't interruptMake a habit of not interrupting the person(s) that is/are talking to you. As simple as this may seem, it is very important that you abide this rule. Just this one thing, done right, represents a great exercise to improve your listening skills. The main idea here is to remember that improving your listening skills means to stop talking and paying attention to what others are saying. Remember that you only learn new things if you shut up and listen. When you talk you learn almost nothing new. So, this is another good reason why you should be quiet and listen to others without interrupting. So if you were wondering how to improve listening skills, now you know one way to do it.

Whenever you're in a discussion, let the speaker finish his statement before trying to reply. If you absolutely need to interrupt the speaker or maybe raise a point, you have to be patient until you get a chance.

How to improve your listening skills?
 

DO IT NOW! What to do today so that this exercise really does improve your listening skills. This is why we call them active listening activities, because they are active:

Take a notebook with you and write down all the discussions that you have today. Write down for each discussion: what was the subject of it, who talked more - you or the other person(s), what do you know more now after this discussion, that you didn't know before. By writing all this down for at least 5-6 discussions, you will know exactly what level of listening skills you have at the moment.

For this exercise to give even better results it is best that someone (your wife/husband,friend,etc) is with you. This way, after you write down all of the above, the other person can read that and tell you how much is true or not and this way you will know were you are and in time you will begin to see the improvements a lot easier. You have to be patient and do this exercise at least 10 times to see some improvements, so go ahead and start now!

How to improve listening skills exercises no.2 Asking questions means paying attention and it is an essential part of the active listening activities.

ask questionsA great exercise to improve listening skills is to ask questions throughout a conversation. Asking the right questions at the right time is gold here. If you ask, people will know that you are listening to what they are saying, you will keep a lively conversation, prevent any possible misunderstandings and most importantly, you will develop your listening skills.

Be careful not to overdo it on the questions though! If you pass a certain number of questions, you will become annoying and no one will want to talk to you in the future. 

DO IT NOW! (active listening activities remember?) What to do today so that this exercise really does improve your listening skills:

Set yourself a goal for today to ask a couple of questions on the first conversation you participate in today. 3 to 6 questions is a reasonable number to start with. After that, set a goal for the next week. Make it a habit of yours to ask questions in every conversation. This way you will learn new things and improve your listening skills as well.

When you ask questions, try not to ask more than one question at a time so that the other person has time to respond to it. It is possible, that the speaker may become silent for some time(this happens often in a conversation). When this happens, do not try to rush and fill up the silence. Instead, you should give the speaker a chance to compose his/her thoughts.

Active listening skills exercises for improving listening skills no.3 "I see"

I seeOne of the difference between hearing and listening is that when you are listening you can try to give some acknowledgments, from time to time, to the person that's talking so they know that you are really listening. Words like "I see", "Aha...", "Yes", "I know", "I understand", "I know the feeling", and you can name even more are of great help.

You can even start to summarize with your own words what you understood. Summarizing has its benefits like preventing misunderstandings and keeping the liveliness of the conversation. It prevents misunderstandings in the sense that if you didn't understand something correctly, then the speaker can set you straight after you summarize what was it that you understood.

Summarizing also keeps you implicated in the discussion by preventing your attention from wondering far away.

How to improve your listening skills?
DO IT NOW! What to do today so that this exercise really does improve your listening skills:

Make it one of your habits to use acknowledgments and to summarize conversations. Try this in any discussion and you and the others around you will see improvements in your listening skills.

Exercise to improve listening skills no.4 Are you willing to become a good listener?

good listenerYou have to know that there are some difference between hearing and listening. If you want to have good listening skills you first have to willing to take the steps involved, to be willing to make the effort. Nothing is free, and gaining listening skills doesn't make any difference. If you are willing that's great, but if you're not, maybe the next benefits of having good listening skills will change your mind.

4 great benefits of being a good listener (why you should be improving listening skills):

1. If you learn how to listen to others, the others will listen to what you have to say as well, they will respect you because you show respect to them by listening. You're words will have a greater influence on other people. This is a great thing! Just imagine having a greater influence on your children, friends, family, work colleagues. Wouldn't this be wonderful?

2. By being a good listener, you can learn more about the people you talk to, you can make new friends and have a better life, both personal and professional. What if you could be good friends with almost everyone you talk to? How would you feel if your boss was your friend? How about your neighbors, colleagues or even customers? It can all be possible if you only listen to others more. 

3. By becoming a good listener you could even improve existent relationships.
When people will see that you've become more attentive to what they say they
will treat you better and you will then realize the importance of listening. Just think: wouldn't you treat someone better if they were listening to you and support you?    

4. Having good listening skills will help you improve conversation skills.
This way you will be able to avoid a lot of misunderstandings or confusions. You could also stop possible conflicts even before they start. As you see there are some important benefits of being a good listener, and I'm sure you can dig out more if you try. You should always remember that by doing active listening activities you will become better and better at this. So, what are you waiting for? You should be out there, improving listening skills right now?

How to improve your listening skills?
DO IT NOW! What to do today so that this exercise really does improve your listening skills:

Start changing the way that you listen to people. Pay more attention to them and try to understand what they are really trying to say. The more you care about them the more they will care for you. There is an old saying that goes like this: "You get hungry while eating." and this goes for willingness too.

You will become more willing to improve your listening skills by having more and more conversations. Just try paying attention and carrying about others and you will feel a huge difference in time.

Exercise to improve listening skills no.5 Keep your eyes on the "ball"

eye on the ballThe difference between hearing and listening is that one is active while the other one isn't. So pay attention only to what the speaker has to say. If you focus only on the speaker and what he/her is talking about and not trying to make up your own replies, you will gain more from the conversation. Also, by doing so, you won't miss a lot of things the speaker might say.

How to improve listening skills today?
DO IT NOW! What to do today so that this exercise really does improve your listening skills:

This is one of the very interesting listening skills exercises. Do the following with the first person that you talk to after reading this: focus completely on that person, don't allow your thoughts to run away, keep your eyes and ears on what the person is saying. Ask him/her questions about what they've said. You will be amazed at how happy you will make that person after you've had your little talk. If the conversation is a short one, try to find someone else and have a longer conversation so that this exercise is effective.

 Active listening skills exercises no.6 Respect me and I will respect you as well.

respectIt is important that you show and have respect for the speaker. If you respect the other person you will pay more attention to him/her. On the other hand, if you don't respect the person that much, you won't be very attentive.

If you make this a habit, I mean respecting people, you will see that those people (most of them) will give you a higher level of respect as well. You first have to give so that you can receive.

How to improve listening skills today?
DO IT NOW! What to do today so that this exercise really does improve your listening skills:

Make a conscious effort to develop a genuine interest for others and what they have to say. We all are special in our own way and we can all learn from each other. Try to consider every people that you talk to, a good friend of yours. How would you treat a friend? That's right, you would pay attention to that friend because you like him/her, you enjoy spending time together, etc.

Try to do this with anyone. It might be a little hard at first, and for some people you may not be able to feel the same as you would to a friend, but, please, give your best at it. And try and try again, and again, and again... Improving your listening skills is not easy but it's more than worth it.

Exercise to improve listening skills no.7 Repeat it and write it down.

writeIn the middle of a conversation, the speaker might say something very interesting for you. You want to remember that but you also want to pay attention to what the speaker is currently saying, so what do you do? You repeat that information. Immediately. Out loud. Read the following to see an example.

How to improve listening skills today? A way to start improving listening skills is to: DO IT NOW! What to do today so that this exercise really does improve your listening skills:

You can use this as a helper: "Did I understand this right? Did you just say that ....." This way you will re-repeat the information and you will also make the other person repeat it again (in some cases, the speaker will only say yes and move on - this is why you can deliberately repeat the information with a little error in it. This way you can be sure that the other person will repeat it as well. It's almost 100% guaranteed!).

Also, if you want to be even more sure that you will remember the information, as soon as you get the chance, write it down on a piece of paper.

 Active listening skills exercises no.8 Keep eye contact

eyeActive listening skills exercises don't just mean that all you have to is to be a good listener. It also means that you need to keep your eyes on the person which is talking. Keep eye contact at all times. It's very important that you do this because this way the conversations will be more pleasant and you and the speaker will learn a lot from each other.

How to improve listening skills today?

DO IT NOW! What to do today so that this exercise really does improve your listening skills:

The next time you talk to others, face the speaker and watch them in the eye. What you say will make a greater impact on people if you keep eye contact. Also do this when the speaker is talking. This way, he/her will feel appreciated and respected.
 
Exercise to improve listening skills no.9 Feedback Time

feedbackIt is very important (and I recommend this) to give feedback to people, especially if they ask for it. Sometimes people won't ask for this, but if you feel that you've had a pleasant conversation with someone and you have something to say, then give feedback to that person.


How to improve your listening skills?
DO IT NOW! What to do today so that this exercise really does improve your listening skills:

If you have something good to say, something that you liked about the other person or the way he/she talked, always say it. Don't keep that all for yourself. Anyone likes to be complimented and if you liked something it's much better to say it loud.

What do I do if I have some negative feedback? If you didn't like something, you have two options: you can either keep it to yourself (some things are better left unsaid), or if you just have to say it, do it in a smoother way. Don't just throw it out as if you didn't care about the person's feelings. Be gentle, say something good about the person and then point out what you wanted to say. Here's an example:

Let's say that you've just had a conversation with a good friend about a tv commercial. You both liked one commercial, but you don't agree with something
that your friend said. How do you tell him this without making him angry? Say something like: "Hey, John I really liked having this talk with you. I always enjoy talking about tv commercials with you because you're a funny guy. I agree about what you said earlier ...., and I also feel that ....(here will be the "negative" feedback - as smoother as you can).

 Active listening skills exercises no.10 Be yourself

be yourselfIt is very important that you feel good in a conversation. You must be relaxed and comfortable. This way, the chances are that you will be more attentive to the speaker. If you feel some sort of discomfort, you won't be able to pay attention to the discussion.


How to improve listening skills today? A way to start improving listening skills is to: DO IT NOW! What to do today so that this exercise really does improve your listening skills:

Start having conversations with people that you feel comfortable talking to. Use all the knowledge you've gathered from this article. By first talking to people that you feel good with, you will make this a little test for future times when you will talk to other people. Once you start paying attention to people you will realize the importance of listening to others.

If you use all of these active listening activities/listening skills exercises you will improve your listening skills and you will become an active listener. People will enjoy talking to you and you will have a greater influence on others. Your whole life will improve, but it's not enough that you've read "Listening skills exercises - 10 Exercises to Improve Listening Skills and Become an Active Listener", you have to read it again, write down what you think is important for you and start using it until it becomes a habit for you.

Thank you for reading this article and I hope it will help you improve your listening skills and your life!

I embrace you,
Razvan


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