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Active Listening

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Use of Active Listening to slow down a discussion, or manage dominant participants



Can be used when participants are actively engaged to slow down a discussion, to demonstrate that you have heard what the person has said, to stop a person from dominating the conversation.





    1. This intervention begins with waiting until there is a pause when someone is speaking. it can be that you will need to interrupt the person by saying, "excuse me, can I check to see if I understand you."

    2. Restate in the words of the speaker what they had said.

    3. Ask if what you had said is an accurate restatement of what they were saying.

    4. If it was not, ask the participant to summarize what they were saying.

    5. If it was an accurate restatement then you can ask the other person to continue or ask other participants to contribute, or other things.


    Usual or Expected Outcomes: The group slows down the discussion, the person who was speaking knows that they have been understood, the person who is dominating the discussion stops talking.


    This method may be used online without modification. 

    Comments (3) (3.0 avg / 1 ratings)

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    • Another effective exercise in active listening is a popular one which I used in Communication and Train the Trainer courses for many years. The participants are divided into groups of 3. Each person is assigned one of the following roles: Speaker, Listener and Observer. The Speaker is given 2-3 minutes to speak uninterrupted on a topic of his or her own choice. At the end, the Listener tries to repeat verbatim what the Speaker said. The Observer gives feedback on the quality of speaking and listening. The roles are reversed and the process continues until each person has played all the roles. Back in the full group, the participants share their experience with the exercise. They answer questions such as: What did it feel like to be listened to completely? What did it feel like to listen without interrupting? How helpful was the feedback from the Observer? What insights did you gain from the exercise? When used at the beginning of a programme, this activity helps to set the tone for the quality of discussion throughout as participants become more aware of their listening skills, the clarity of their speech and the sense of validation that comes from being listened to. This method is easily transferred to online facilitation with the use of breakout rooms.

      about 1 year ago
    • Sometimes a participant make take a long time making their point and you can sense that it is affecting communication within the group. This approach helps in hoghlighting their main point and may open up the discussion for others to comment.

      about 1 year ago
    • over 2 years ago