Listening is one of the key quotients of effective communication. In this following article, we will concentrate on some of the most effective listening games for adults that can be used for learning this important skill.
Without the ability to listen, and listen well, a successful communication process can never take place. In any communication process, the stress is usually laid on the way in which we talk and in honing that to perfection―in the clarity, innovation, and the style of speaking. But most forget that listening is just as, if not more, important than talking.
Listening works on many levels to perfect the communication process. Listening allows for a person to understand what the other is saying and therefore there are lesser chances of miscommunication taking place. It also allows the speaker to feel confident and sure of what he’s speaking because he’s getting the right kind of feedback through words and gestures. If there is no ‘listening’ being done, the communication process is already flawed. Thus it becomes important that we learn the ‘how’ of listening and perfect that skill.
While there are varied methods which work to get this into order, probably the most interesting among them is to make use of listening games. In this following article, we will take you through some of the best listening games for adults that you can apply and learn from.
Fun Games for Adults
Some of the most effective listening games are those that combine learning through fun activities. This takes the pressure off the learning process and inculcates the skill of listening quite naturally. Let’s take a closer look at some of these active listening games in the next section.
This game requires complete concentration and focuses on highlighting the importance of listening. Take up a group of people and hand them a piece of paper and some pens or pencils. Then an instructor comes forth and gives simple instructions about a particular object that the group has to draw. For example:
➠ Draw a square, measuring 5 inches.
➠ Draw a circle in the square such that it fits exactly in the middle of the square.
➠ Intersect 2 lines through the circle so that the circle gets divided into 4 equal parts.
The exercise can become progressively more difficult with every instruction, and unless the group has listened to the instructions carefully, there can be no hopes of completing the exercise successfully.
This game requires complete concentration and a keen ear to understand exactly what is going on. A leader comes forth and relates the instructions which go like this, for example:
➠ 1 clap = Stand
➠ 2 claps = Hop on place
➠ 3 claps = Rub your belly
And so on. The leader then starts alternating between 1 clap, 2 claps and so on. The group has to be able to listen with complete concentration and follow through. You could even include the elimination round. The person who fails to come through with the action is eliminated. This continues till there is one clear winner.
In this game, a person comes forth and narrates a story while the others have to listen to it carefully. In the end, the group is handed a paper that has a set of questions ranging from simple to difficult. The group has to answer them based on what they’ve heard. This highlights how well a person listens and tries to understand what the others are saying. The other way of playing this one is to play a CD that has a story on it and then get the group to write the story in possible details.
Gather all the participants in a circle and give them a topic for discussion, or a known story. After a point of time, choose a person from the circle and ask him to relate the story or the topic. While he speaks, say ‘stop’ and ask the next person to continue where the first person left off. Continue to do this with 2-3 participants, saying ‘stop’ during various points. After this, stop going in the expected order and pick a random person from the circle and ask them to continue the discussion.
Ask all the participants to sit in a circle. The first person is tagged and he has to start off by relating a story, when he’s done with 3-5 sentences, the trainer will say ‘stop’ and ask one of the participants to continue. The condition is that he has to repeat the last sentence that was said and then continue to make up the story. If he fumbles, takes longer than 3 seconds, or cannot continue, he is disqualified. The last person standing, wins.
This is a really fun game and portrays how we listen, we don’t just listen with our ears but also use our eyes and our brain processes. The trainer stands on a raised platform and instructs all the participants to listen to what he is saying. They have to listen to what he is saying and then do the action.
For example, he will say clap twice or make a fist. The tricky part comes now. To see if they are really listening, while giving an instruction, he will perform a completely different action―for example he might say clap your hands, but he might click his fingers. Many people will click their fingers instead of clapping their hands. At the end of the exercise he can explain how our listening is not merely guided by what we hear and that is why truly listening to something requires concentration
This one is a little tricky, but it’s a lot of fun. Give all the participants a piece of paper and a pen and instruct them that they can make notes as you speak and that they will have to answer questions at the end of the story. Next, relate an elaborate story.
Start off by saying that you are (as in they) are the bus driver, and you stop at stop no.1 and a woman with a red coat walks in. Then at stop no.2, a man with a green bag sits next to her. At stop no.3, three students climb out of the bus and 2 old men get in. Continue with this elaborate story. At the end of the story, ask them what is the age of the driver. Only the people who have really listened will be able to answer this one.
Ask all the participants to relate one of their most weird quirks or hobbies. Tell everyone to keep this in mind. When everyone has had their turn, ask them to sit. Then start calling out random people in pairs and ask ‘What was his/her hobby?’. Only the people who have a keen sense of listening will remember this.
All these active listening activities highlight the importance of listening for the success of any communication process. A good way to reinforce this fact is to discuss each game after it has been completed and then talk about how it could have been improved upon. This will drive the point home well enough. And since it is done through the medium of games, it becomes easier to understand and thereby adapt to.